Leinster Rugby’s Under 18 Girls ended their 2017 Interprovincial Series with a 38-22 win over Connacht in Leixlip on Saturday afternoon – with Ardee Rugby Club’s Tess Meade one of the six try scorers on the day.
Ultimately, the victory wasn’t enough to secure the Interprovincial Series title as Munster beat Ulster to seal the competition win with three wins from three. After an opening day defeat to Munster, excellent victories over the two other provincial rivals contibuted to what will undoubtedly be considered a successful campaign for Niall Neville’s girls.
Having impressed in Leinster’s opening two games, Lobinstown-born Meade (pictured above powering past Connacht’s Aine Gavin) was able to contribute a day in Saturday’s win to cap a fine personal few weeks for her. Connacht had started fast and went over twice in the opening 25 minutes, both unconverted, for a 10-0 lead.
Meade, playing at number eight, was the first to try – going over the line after some strong approach work with Grace Kelly impressing. Both Meade’s and Orla Molley’s tries were converted by Natasja Behan for a 14-10 lead.
Bethany Sharpe, Megan Burns and Molly Fitzgerald added further tries – all in a ten minute spell – as Leinster pulled awy. Connacht got one their fourth try late on after Molly was yellow carded.
Lining out at number 8 in the back row, Tess was joined in the starting XV by Dundalk RFC’s Meadbh O’Callaghan. The Ardee Rugby Club player was also in the Leinster U18 panel for the 2016 Introprovincial Series, where she was joined by clubmate Aine Reilly.
Speaking to LeinsterRugby.ie after the game, coach Neville said, “For the girls, it is a taste of playing at a level above the clubs. It is all part of their progression.
“This is the pinnacle of the game at this Age Grade because, at the moment, there is no international rugby,” he added.