Navan RFC

Founded 1925

Co. Meath

Match Report: Leinster Women's Paul Cusack (Div 3 & 4) Cup Final

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In a battle for the ages at Balbriggan RFC, Navan Women's 1st XV etched their names into Leinster rugby lore by securing the prestigious Leinster Women Paul Cusack (Division 3 & 4) Cup in a heart-stopping clash against Edenderry. With both teams eyeing glory and boasting unbeaten seasons, the stage was set for a titanic tussle, and the players did not disappoint as they delivered a match brimming with intensity, skill, and drama.
From the opening exchanges, it was clear that both teams were intent on imposing their will on the contest, with Edenderry's physical forward pack seeking to assert dominance in the contact area, countered by Navan's dynamic athleticism and attacking flair.
Fifteen minutes into the game, Navan drew first blood with a scintillating try, sparked by a moment of brilliance from Cara Martin, whose pinpoint pass found Molly Fitzgerald in space. Fitzgerald showcased her electrifying pace, racing 55 meters to dot down for the opening score, setting the tone for a thrilling encounter.
Undeterred, Edenderry responded emphatically, utilizing their forward power to breach Navan's defense and seize the lead with a well-executed try in the left corner, converted to edge ahead on the scoreboard.
Showing their ruthlessness, Edenderry capitalized on their momentum, notching a quickfire second try just moments later to extend their advantage, leaving Navan with a mountain to climb.
However, Navan refused to wilt under the pressure, summoning their resilience and determination to claw their way back into contention with a second unconverted try from Aine Castles, narrowing the deficit and keeping the contest finely poised as halftime beckoned.
As the second half commenced, Edenderry looked to build on their slender lead, seeking to assert control and pull away from their opponents. Their efforts were duly rewarded as they stretched their lead with a third try, capitalizing on sustained pressure inside Navan's 22-meter line.
However, Navan responded with characteristic tenacity, refusing to let the game slip away from their grasp. Inspired by Molly Fitzgerald's heroics, they clawed their way back into contention with a sensational breakaway try for the centre’s second try, converted by out-half Anna Bolger in the 52nd minute, showcasing their attacking prowess and cutting the deficit to a mere two points.
But Edenderry refused to yield, striking back with a converted try of their own to reestablish their authority and extend their lead when pursuing a blockdown harvested a try at the posts, setting the stage for a pulsating finale.
In the dying stages of the match, with tensions running high and the outcome hanging in the balance, Navan summoned one final surge, driven by their unwavering determination and desire for glory. There was just no stopping Molly Fitzgerald who was having one of those career days, knifing through for a hat-trick, Jackie Shiels converting in the 68th minute.
With time ticking away and only two points down, Navan launched a relentless assault on Edenderry's defense, probing for openings and refusing to be denied.
And their tenacity was rewarded when Shiels made it in at the right corner, capturing a decisive lead in the 74th minute.
As the final whistle sounded, Navan Women's 1st XV erupted in jubilant celebrations, their courageous fightback culminating in a thrilling victory that sealed their place in a Marquee day in the club's history. It was a moment of pure elation and triumph, a testament to their resilience, teamwork, and unwavering belief in each other.
In a match filled with standout performances, Molly Fitzgerald's exceptional display stood out as she spearheaded Navan's attack with her pace, skill, and clinical finishing, inspiring her teammates and leaving an indelible mark on the game.
The squad's collective effort and determination were instrumental in their triumph, with each player contributing to their team's success in their own unique way. Their victory will be remembered as a testament to their courage, spirit, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Player of the Match: Molly Fitzgerald

Navan Women's 1st XV Squad "Sponsored by P. Bermingham's Bar":
Emily Jo White, Niamh McManus, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Ava Galvin, Mairead Carty, Louise Crinion, Kayleigh Crinion, Rosie Searle, Anita Lennon, Anna Bolger, Alanna Caffrey, Cara Martin, Molly Fitzgerald, Áine Castles, Aisling Kelly, Aoife Ryan, Shaunagh Keogan, Michelle Stafford, Racheal Browne, Jackie Shiels, Allie Flynn, Isabelle Brereton.

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