The Girls U18 team had to make the long journey up to the county town of Louth, Dundalk, for this weekends round of the Leinster League. Team spirits were high on the bus journey up but even better on the return journey after a fine win for the girls. Carlow started well with good ball carrying from Jade Collins and Aine Rowe and eventually it paid dividends with the line being crossed for a try by Jade Collins. The strong start continued with a great try by Lauren Holohan after a great work out wide by Tara Woods and Oonagh O Brien.
After the restart, the concentration slipped and Dundalk responded immediately with a good try. The Carlow management team gave some harsh words after this, and in fairness the team responded with a well structured try from a line out, a well rehearsed move that had all the hall marks of their coach, Catriona Cassidy, which was finished by Aoife Hayden. Meighan Fitzpatrick played well out wide and kept the Dundalk backs well contained. The half time score was 5-20.
The second half was when the Carlow xv showed their experience and kicked it up a gear. Aoife Hayden and Lauren Holohan scored a second try each with great service from scrum half Ciara Carbery and out half Nicole Holligan. Sofia Lawler and Keeva Owens were getting on top against the Dundalk forwards while Rachel Doogue and Wiggy Mulholland ensured the tackle count was very high. Out wide, Tara Woods nearly got her first try, while Alannah O Toole used her pace to score too. Keeva Owens played a captains role by scoring late and rounding off a fine display. Some other note worthy new comers were Alison McGrath and Sarah Furey who showed some great determination and will do well with more games under their belt. But the outstanding player on this day was Jade Collins. Line Outs, ball carrying, and tackling was superb and set the tone for the rest of the squad.
Overall, a big improvement by this squad and the coaches of Alan Owens and Catriona Cassidy must be pleased with this. With Clare Hanley coming back from injury it can only get better. Their hard work is evident in this team and holds great hope for the future.