City of Derry Ladies 31, Enniskillen Ladies 13
City of Derry Ladies sent out a clear message of intent for the season with a comprehensive 31-13 defeat of reigning champions Enniskillen who had won last year’s title without losing a match.
Derry started in confidend fashion and it wasn’t long before Rugain Doherty flew across the line after some terrific handling for her first score.
Good pressure and strong defensive work kept Enniskillen pegged back but with the visitors pressing, Ciara McGurk, intercepted a midfield pass and sprinted in. With Ciara Moore converting Derry were comfortable at 14-0.
However, the champions were not for lying down and some poor tackling allowed Enniskillen to slot over a penalty. Derry were attacking at every opportunity and with fast passing, they were quickly pressurising the Enniskillen line, McGurk’s dainty chip just perfect for Aoifie Curran to latch on and score in the corner.
As the half approached Derry’s slick passing saw Rugain Doherty again the recipient of some superb team play that led to the bonus point try just before half time,
Derry made a significant number of changes in the second half and introduced two debutantes, Tori Tracey and Aoife O’Hagan.
The changes presented Enniskillen with opportunities and Noreen Nethercott, who was by far Enniskillen’s best player, used all her experience to get over for a score. Not long later, Rebecca Pennell, barged over to leave the score 24-13.
Derry never looked in danger and the day belonged to the returning mum, Kelly Holmes. Two months after giving birth to her son she entered the fray and showed she had lost none of her class. Vanessa Murphy again impressed with a storming run which presented quick ball for scrum half Meabh O’Neill who in turn fed Kelly to step inside and score under the posts.
The result leaves Derry top of the table as the only unbeaten team. Derry Ladies return to action after a week’s break, away to Malone and Ballynahinch with their next home game being on November 6th.