DESPITE being without three key regular players, Omagh Acciettes produced a gutsy display on Sunday to win 5-3 at Carrickfergus and seal their maiden appearance at Kingspan Stadium.
Arlene McLaughlin’s late try, just five minutes from time, following a concerted period of pressure, secured the Accies Ladies’ place in the Junior Cup final at Ulster Rugby headquarters on April 4th when they will face north west rivals, City of Derry.
It will be an exciting occasion for the Omagh girls, who won the Rejenerate Shield and Rejenerate Cup in 2017 and 2018 respectively and although it’s against one of their bogey teams, they are looking forward to it.
“It’s unbelievable just to get there, so we haven’t even thought about what it would be like to win it,” beamed Acciettes vice-captain, Cathy Keatley, who was skipper on Sunday with RJ McKeown in Australia along with outhalf, Helena Clements, while influential centre Siobhan Sheerin was injured.
She added: “Our next task will be to plan ahead, which will start at training [last night, Wednesday].”
On Sunday, the Acciettes travelled to Carrick expecting a tight encounter, knowing no quarter would be given or asked against the side they beat to claim the Rejenerate Cup two years previously.
And while the home side took a first half lead through a penalty, handling errors and a midfield battle meant that while Omagh enjoyed plenty of the ball, attacking territory was at a premium.
However, towards the end of the match that changed. For the final 15 minutes, the Acciettes were camped in the Carrick 22 and that pressure eventually told when McLaughlin. barged over.
“It wasn’t easy, but it was the kind of game we knew it was going to be,” Keatley added.
“We were missing some key players.
“It was a big blow not to have them because they have so much experience, but all the girls stepped up, it was great.
“We knew [the score] was coming but that we had to be patient. We knew it was going to be like that, that it wasn’t going to be high scoring.
“At the final whistle we were so emotional, everyone was crying, it was great!”