Banbridge 21 Clogher Valley 10 

This was the Valley Women’s first encounter at Kingspan Stadium in a Cup Final and many would say, that you need the experience of losing a final before you win one.

Storm Kathleen made any kicking a lottery at Kingspan and was to have an impact on the accuracy of the passing.

It was the Valley who had the wind at their backs in the first half, but Banbridge with the experienced out-half Jemma Farrell controlled the pace of the play.

Many of the Valley players were nervous and this came across in the basic errors made in the first few minutes.

However, when they did settle, they played some fantastic rugby and showed that this is a team who will do extremely well in the future.

Banbridge, who play in the league above Clogher Valley, had some experienced players and with Farrell controlling the strings, brought that experience to bear and were the first on the score sheet with a try beside the posts. Farrell converted and Banbridge led 7-0.

The Valley increased the pace of the game and with fantastic interplay between the Valley centres Shauna O’Hagan and Cloideach Donaghy they found the holes in the Banbridge defence.

With slick passing between Marie Treanor and Kendall Johnston, Treanor cut through to score 10 metres in from the touchline.

The Valley crossed the line minutes later but were called back by the referee for an infringement earlier in the build-up.

As the half was coming to a close, Katie Hetherington stole the ball in a Banbridge lineout, the ball was spread out wide to the right wing and then back across the pitch for Shauna O’Hagan to score in the left corner.

At the interval the Valley led 10-7 but had the gale to contend with in the second half.

Impartial Reporter: Marie Treanor sprints past the Banbridge defender to score Valley's opening try in the final at Kingspan Stadium.Marie Treanor sprints past the Banbridge defender to score Valley's opening try in the final at Kingspan Stadium. (Image: Impartial Reporter)

10 minutes into the second half, Banbridge’s Farrell created the gap and their centre came through to score under the posts. The conversion was good and Banbridge retook the lead 14-10, one they were not to relinquish.

The Valley played some great rugby but were not able to break the Banbridge defence down.

The Valley back line controlled by Lucy Sommerville at outhalf, made gains but weren’t quite able to get past the Banbridge defence.

Impartial Reporter: Valley's Katie Hetherington gets stopped by Banbridge's Jemma Farrell.Valley's Katie Hetherington gets stopped by Banbridge's Jemma Farrell. (Image: Impartial Reporter)

The Valley pack worked hard, especially in the back row where Shauna Hagan, Katie-Jayne Browne and Katie Hetherington carried the ball numerous times, punching through the first line of defence, but were unable to make it towards the try line.

As the game came towards the end, Banbridge added a further try to take the game beyond the reach of the Valley.

The Valley supporters done what they could to lift the team, but in the end Banbridge lifted the Suzanne Fleming Cup winning 21-10.

Disappointment for the Valley Women but this was a fantastic achievement, reaching the final in their second season of existence under coaches Richard Haire, David Black and Gareth Smyton.

Impartial Reporter: Valley's winger Emma McKenna gets caught by the Banbridge defender.Valley's winger Emma McKenna gets caught by the Banbridge defender. (Image: Impartial Reporter)

With one game left in the league against Lurgan, the Valley Women are in a very strong place to lift the Women’s Championship B League title.

Coaches Richard Haire, David Black and Gareth Smyton were extremely proud of the team and their performance.

“It is not easy to run out on this pitch and play in a final,” said David Black.

“Regardless of the score today, this team will be back at Kingspan in another final,” said coach Richard Haire: “Many of these players are new to rugby and their performance was brilliant, we will be back”.