Posted: 2 months ago

India Daley inspires Enniskillen fightback to lift Women’s Junior Cup at Kingspan

Trophy celebration by Enniskillen

Enniskillen 27-8 Malone

ENNISKILLEN RFC are the 2023/24 Women’s Junior Cup champions after producing a stunning second half recovery to turn the Kingspan final around and beat the title-holders, Malone RFC.

The Belfast-side had dominated the entire first half but couldn’t turn their possession into points, and only held an 8-5 advantage at the interval.

A revitalised Enniskillen came out in the second half and scored 22 points without reply to secure the cup, inspired by a 2-try performance from India Daley.

The Fermanagh side had scored the first try of the Final in what was their only real attack of the opening 40 minutes, which was spent almost entirely in their half of the pitch.

After 10 minutes, Dolores Hughes won a turnover before breaking the Malone line and getting in behind the defence. She timed her pass to perfection to find Sophie Meeke on a great support line and the right winger ran it in from just outside the 22.

Skins were then forced to defend for huge periods of time, and after a team accumulation of offences, it was Sophie Barrett who was shown the yellow card by the referee after 30 minutes.

Malone made the numbers count, and Grainne Murphy dotted down in the corner to pull level, and on the stroke of half-time she knocked over a penalty to give her side the lead.

Despite being shown the card, Barrett’s defensive efforts made an enormous difference as the tighthead prop continually put in huge tackles, as teammate did Sarah Tague, and the midfield combination of Moya Hill and Farrah Cartin McCloskey.

HT: Enniskillen 5-8 Malone

The second half began with a much more even exchange of attack and defence, with Enniskillen no longer camped in their own territory.

It wasn’t long before they got back into the final as the backs combined well in the 55th minute before Zara Flack raced into the corner to score and restore the lead, after a neat link-up between Hughes and captain Lucy Thompson.

Just five minutes later the game was entirely turned on its head when Hughes offloaded to a rampaging India Daley, and the number 8 crashed through one tackler before skipping past another on her way under the posts to score, with Hughes adding the conversion.

It was Daley who continued to have a huge impact with ball in hand, with her 67th minute surge from her own half getting Skins deep into Malone territory. The ball was quickly recycled and moved wide where Flack darted in for her second score, making it 22-8.

As Malone chased the game and tried to push for a quick score, Enniskillen reclaimed the ball and Daley broke from her own 10m line to cut through a tired Malone defence and sprint clear from 60m to put it beyond any doubt and ensure the trophy was heading to Fermanagh.

FT: Enniskillen 27-8 Malone

Enniskillen: [15-9]: Lucy Thompson (C); Sophie Meeke; Farrah Cartin McCloskey; Moya Hill; Zara Flack; Dolores Hughes; Elle-Mae Maguire; [1-8]: Aoife Keaney; Cora Balfour; Sophie Barrett; Kelly Quinn; Kelly Beacom; Sarah Adams; Rebecca Beacom; India Daley. Replacements: Chloe Moore; Nadine Hunter; Sarah Teague; Katie Elliott; Karla Wiggins; Dearbhla Dillion; Maeve Granger.

Malone: [15-9]: Helen Scullion; Grainne Murphy; Anna Stanfield; Sophie Armstrong; Mia Ferguson; Peita McAllister (C); Shirelle Wilson; [1-8]: Sarah Murphy; Ashleigh Currie; Katie-Anne McCallion; Rebecca Greenaway; Hannah Beattie; Ruby Devine; Cara O’Neill; Lauren Hassett. Replacements: Erin Jones; Susan Kane; Cora Cahill; Eve Murphy; Donna McGovern; Megan Creighton; Alexa McMullan.

India Daley