Sunday, 22 November 2015

Girls Rugby

Moving Forward and Making History!
On Tuesday 17th November2015, nineteen of our girls took a huge step forward in Villiers’ history books being the first female rugby representatives for the school. Captained by Della Daly, a travelling senior squad of 15 senior girls and five juniors made their anticipated debut with a short trip to Limerick Institute of Technology. Here, they took part in a Development Day run by Munster Rugby which included games along with skills and drills.
The programme was based on Leprechaun Rugby, an adapted form of rugby created by the IRFU as an introductory process to the more commonly known 15 aside full- contact game. This short, 20 minute, 10 aside game involves uncontested set pieces and two handed touch but includes many aspects of rugby union, such as; general movement, effective attack and solid defence.
The girls began the day with a game against St. Anne’s Community College of Killaloe, this close encounter challenged the girls as they got to put nine weeks of hard work and training to the test. With a team full of new caps and first-time players, the girls were anxious and nerves were high. However, we saw a great display of rugby from both teams involved. Fantastic work rate from players like Olivia Gurnett, Alex Clohessy, Rachel Hoctor and Rachel Butler made it very difficult for the opposition to make ground. Huge carries by Laura O’Riordan and Becky Manifold kept the momentum in Villiers favour with some very effective evasive attacking lines by Tamsin Harvey, Grace Keely and Katy Reddan. Tries scored deservedly by Molly Pattison and Claire Brewitt gave Villiers the win. Only conceding one try, the girls were happy with their debut lead excellently by Daly.
Meanwhile, our travelling junior players; Ava O’Connor, Jessica Hickey O’Neill, Siban Dalton, Aoife Kavanagh and Amy O’ Leary got a chance to play with the two Junior teams that had made the trip to the event. In a thrilling opener between St. Annes and St. Mary’s the girls fitted in perfectly making some very effective line breaks and an all-important try from Jess Hickey O’Neill, her first every try in her first game of rugby, a huge achievement that she should be extremely proud of.
After the opening games, the girls were then put through their paces with some skills and drills by Munster Development Officer Amanda Greensmith, IRFU Referee Andy Brace and other members of the Munster Development Team. This was a great way to work on specific aspects of weakness that had been identified in their games, a lot was learned and taken on board coming into our final game.
We saw the two sides battle it out once again and the improvement on both teams was undeniable. The girls had listened, learned and now got the opportunity to put it into practice. Huge individual performances resulted in a collective team win that saw inexperienced players step up to the mark and really impress. This game saw a lot more advancement passed the gain line and a huge increase in supportive line running, individual line breaks and movement of the ball to wings. Villiers ran in six tries against St. Annes’ four giving us our second win of the day.
We had decided collectively as a team before this tournament that we were not here to win or get involved in the competitive aspects. We were there to learn, develop our skill set and enrich our understanding of the game. However, this was done so well the wins fell into place. Huge effort by all involved, we are looking forward to our next encounter, where we will continue to move forward and make history!
Huge thank you to Eve Meaney and Kennedy Tabot Ndip for their help on the day, some great photography for Active Schools!