THE Kilkenny ladies rugby team finished their Leinster League campaign with an unblemished record, but had to overcome a tough challenge from Mullingar in their last encounter.
Although Kilkenny were keen to finish on a winning note, they were made to work hard as most of the possession and territory was in Mullingar’s hands for the entire of the first half at Foulkstown on Sunday. The hosts showed their strength in defence with ferocious tackling led by captain, Aoife Lyons, along with Deirdre O’Neill, Bernie Healy and Brona Kelly.
Mullingar attacked at will during the first half, with Kilkenny keeping a strong defence. Kilkenny were extremely lucky not to concede a try by half-time, but extended pressure from the visitors saw Mullingar go in with the lead at the break thanks to a last minute penalty.
It was a different Kilkenny who took to the field for the second half. They relaxed into their own patterns of play and developed a game-plan which began to take effect. This was shown by quick recycling by the forwards and the backs capitalised on this by a hat-trick of tries.
Kilkenny had an impressive record in their Division Four campaign, scoring 154 points in their eight games and conceding just eight.
Their 100% record saw them finish at the top of the table with a 39 point haul, some ten points clear of their nearest challengers, Co Carlow/Carlow IT. Mullingar (15-3) and UCD (34-5) were the only teams to score against Kilkenny, who kept Enniscorthy (36-0), Co Carlow/IT Carlow (28-0) and Old Belvedere (41-0) scoreless. They were awarded walkovers by Arklow, Newbridge and Tallaght.
Kilkenny will be hoping to keep that winning run going when they contest the Leinster final on December 10.