The Kilkenny players celebrate with the cup after defeating Tallaght at Old Belvedere on Saturday. Pic: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
A hat-trick by captain Emer Kelly meant Kilkenny’s name was etched into the record books as the inaugural winners of the Leinster League Division 5 final.
These two showed no signs of sluggishness from the mid-morning kick-off, even though nerves played a part in a shaky opening quarter.
It was understandable as both sets of players looked to settle into simple patterns, Kilkenny moving the ball into space, while Tallaght preferred a more direct avenue.
The mistakes and errors gradually gave way to a better flow, beginning with Kilkenny’s insistence on delivering a try by No 8 Lieke Holden in the left corner.
It was the signal for Kilkenny to move into overdrive, Kelly freewheeling down the left for a superb individual try which was quickly followed by a similar effort from left-wing Lucy Harte, the latter converting both for 19-0 in the 37th minute.
However, Tallaght were driven on by Louise Leonard and scrum-half Eileen Shanahan before flanker Martina Fitzpatrick twisted to the line for Grainne Flood to convert for 19-7 at the break.
The second period sprang into life a lot sooner as Kilkenny took advantage of the binning of Leonard for captain Kelly to sprint around the outside of the defence, Harte’s conversion making it 26-7 in the 52nd minute.
Soon, Tallaght were peppering the line with one-out runners until out-half Grainne Flood put centre Chloe Conroy-Kearns over on the left for Flood to convert for 26-14 in the 56th minute.
The ensuing stalemate centred around uncompromising defence as tackles stuck until Kelly spotted a hole in midfield and was quickly through to the posts for Harte to convert, essentially sealing the issue.
Scorers – Kilkenny: E Kelly three tries; L Harte try, four cons; L Holden try. Tallaght: M Fitzpatrick, C Conroy-Kearns try each; G Flood two cons.
Kilkenny – Sorcha Barcoe-Keogh; Ciara Harte, Emer Kelly, Emily Kenny, Lucy Harte; Leah McCarthy, Ella Carroll; Jenny Kirwan, Keeva Owens, Henna Mosse, Isla Mosse, Marguerite Irish, Rosie Miller, Tina Wright, Lieke Hoban.
Replacements: Finola Muldowney, Katie Jo Foley, Cathy Kelly, Alice Murphy, Jane Flynn, Ella Kavanagh, Stephanie Bowe
Tallaght – Abbie Keeley; Doireann O’Byrne, Aisling Pyke, Chloe Conroy-Kearns, Sorcha Burns; Grainne Flood, Eileen Shanahan; Veronica Criado, Lisa O’Connell, Larissa Marinelli, Aimee Travers, Hillary Allen, Martina Fitzpatrick, Kimberley Littlefield, Louise Leonard.
Replacements: Caoimhe Young, Emma Irvin, Samantha Ledden, Erica Keegan/Clodagh Cullagh, Lisa Kennedy, Nikita Murray, Laura Dalton.
Referee – J Kerr
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