Clondalkin progressed to the final of the Leinster Women’s League Division 1 last weekend when they overcame a strong Barnhall side at Gordon Park.
The sides had met twice previously this season, with Clon winning both encounters, but this was a one-off match with everything to play for.
Clondalkin applied pressure from the kick-off and were rewarded when outside centre Sara Phelan picked up 40m out and rounded the Barnhall defence to touch down for the first try of the match to the right of the posts.
From the resultant kick-off, Clondalkin gathered and made their way into their opponents’ half. Gale Stowe found touch in the Barnhall 22 and from the lineout, Barnhall were again penalised. Ailbhe O’Nolan stepped up to slot the ball over the posts to extend the Clondalkin lead to eight.
Barnhall hit back after a penalty of their own saw them put in the hard yards and open their scoring with a try on their left wing, though the conversion was missed.
Clondalkin applied pressure again from the restart and forced Barnhall into an infringement in the scrum. The mark was in almost the same position as their first penalty and again O’Nolan slotted the ball between the posts.
The sides attempted to find a way through their respective defences but there were no more scores in the first half.
The second half started as the first had ended with a succession of forward moves proving indecisive from both teams, but when Barnhall surrendered possession to the Clondalkin back row of Sandie Healy, Naomi Fynes and Ailbhe O’Nolan, the ball was fed quickly to Clondalkin second row Mairead Holohan and Anne Marie Whelan before Phelan once again outpaced the Barnhall defence, sprinting half of the pitch to touch down under the posts, the conversion taking the score to 18-5.
Barnhall never gave up, applying repeated pressure on Clondalkin who were reduced to 14 players midway through the half. But try as they might, their efforts were in vain and Clondalkin qualified for the league final.
Clondalkin will play against Old Belvedere, who finished above them in the league in the final which is scheduled for 2.30pm this Saturday, January 25, in Edenderry RFC.
Clondalkin: Amanda Boland, Shona Byrne, Caroline Conway, Niamh Farrelly, Naomi Fynes, Aideen Grogan, Sandie Healy, Debbie Hendrick, Mairead Holohan, Brid Holohan, Melissa Kavanagh, Ciara Lennon, Ailbhe O’Nolan, Sara Phelan, Michelle Rowan, Nicola Smyth, Gael Stowe, Laura Wall and Anne Marie Whelan,