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Catriona Nolan, an impressive winner in the ladies masters singles at the Limerick regatta. TT18205

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Catriona Nolan, an impressive winner in the ladies masters singles at the Limerick regatta. TT18205 thumbnailMegan Burns. TT18265

A TULLAMORE Rugby Club member played a starring role on the Irish U-18 sevens side that competed in a big competition last weekend.
Megan Burns was part of the 12 player squad that travelled to Vichy in France to play in the European U-18 Championship - the event doubled up as the European qualifying event for the Youth Olympic Games which take place in Argentina next October.
Ireland competed very well and reached the semi-finals where their dreams of glory were ended by the host country, France on a 27-0 scoreline.
In the quarter-final, Ireland defeated Russia 29-0 while there was some consolation when they beat Italy by 15-10 in the third-fourth place play off.
Ireland performed well to comfortably qualify as winners out of pool D. In their first game on Saturday, they had a run away 50-0 win over Latvia, with Burns getting one of the tries in a game that she started in.
She also scored a try when coming on as a replacement in the 64-0 win over Andorra in their second game while she was back on the starting line up for the closing pool match against the Netherlands. Ireland had to work a lot harder in this one before winning 19-15 with Burns getting a crucial try.
The daughter of John and Beth Burns, Megan has made great progress in rugby in recent years. From Gurteen in the Killurin area, rugby is in her blood as her father John has been a very successful coach - he has been a coach in Tullamore for years as well as with other clubs - while her older brother Sam was number 10 for most of the season on the Tullamore firsts team that secured their status in the All-Ireland League.
Incidentally, John Burns was the coach and Sam a key player as the Tullamore U-20 mens' side had a big win over Bective Rangers in the Harry Gale Cup final on Sunday. Tullamore led the ground work in the first half when they went in leading by 8-3 after playing against the wind. They played very well in the second half to win by 20-11 with Bective only getting in for a late consolation try.
It has seen Tullamore spectacularly turn around what threatened to be a disappointing season at one stage. They rallied late to stay in the All-Ireland League while they have enjoyed a great season at youths level.,
A very talented player, Megan Burns has come up through the Leinster academy system and has very good prospects of making further progress in recent years. She has competed for Leinster at various levels as well as the Irish schools sevens team and won her first Irish cap last year when she lined out for the U-18s in the European Sevens Championship.
There has been a considerable growth in womens' rugby in Tullamore in recent years, with a couple of players from the club competing at internationally level while they also competed in the All-Ireland League this year, though they were relegated back to junior rugby after finding the going tough - they won two of their fourteen games with a points difference of -419, though they were just two points behind the second from bottom team, Galweigians. It was their first year in the All-Ireland League and while the results proved that it was too soon for them, they nonetheless learnt a lot from the experience.
See page 71 for a report on Tullamore's U-20 Gale Cup win.

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