Queens Ladies 12, City of Derry Ladies 0
City of Derry Ladies will meet Enniskillen in the Ulster Senior Shield Final after a narrow defeat against Queen’s meant the local side missed out on a ‘home’ Rosie Stewart Cup final.
With Rosie Stewart finals day scheduled for Sunday, March 6th at Judges Road, Saturday’s 12-0 reversal against the Belfast ‘Students’ means it is Queen’s who will take on hot favourites Cooke for the main trophy following Derry’s appearance in the Shield final at 12.30pm.
The weekend sem-final at ‘the Dub’ was played in difficult weather conditions on a surface that has seen plenty of rugby which made free-flowing rugby challenging. The game got off to a nervous start but the Derry scrum was by far the stronger however this dominance was not being rewarded by the referee.
The opening score came totally against the run of play and just when Derry were starting to get on the front foot. Queen’s and Ulster No. 10 Jemma Jackson intercepted a loose pass and, after juggling the ball in mid-air, managed to retain possession and run half the pitch to score under the posts.
Derry fought back with a number of huge tackles but the guile and speed with which Queens dragged the visitors one way, then the other was decisive in creating Queen’s second score in the corner.
The second half was similar to the first. Each time Derry tried to get their game going, Queens frustrated and slowed the tempo down and not always legitimately.
The solitary yellow card came late in the second half and much too late to impact on the outcome. Queen’s only threatened once in the second half when solid Derry defence held the Belfast side up.
Derry however need to make their possession and dominance at scrum time pay but tight, competitive games like this will make this Derry squad better as long as lessons are learned about putting teams away when in control.
The result leaves Derry facing an Enniskillen team they have met twice already this season in the league. The first meeting was away on the opening day of the season and saw Derry defeated 14 -5 with the return fixture at Judges Road scoreless, two results that helped the Fermanagh side to the League title.
The Rosie Stewart and Ulster Shield Finals will form part of a festival of ladies rugby at Judges Road on March 6th with refreshments and food available on the day.