4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
The UL Bohemians Women's team have won nine of the ten All-Ireland League titles, as well as securing a double 'double' of cup wins.
The entire squad attended on the night, including their head coach Gary Walsh, who has recently been named the Munster Women's coach for the coming season.
Having won nine of the last 10 All-Ireland League titles, the girls from UL Bohs are without doubt the standard bearers of the Women's game.
In April, their captain Patrique Kelly lifted the trophy after the Annacotty-based outfit won the title by eight points from Blackrock.
This ninth title came on the back of wins in the All-Ireland Cup and the Munster Cup. A fantastic treble, only bettered by the fact that they won that glorious treble last season also.
They also won the inaugural Munster Sevens and All-Ireland Sevens Championships, proving they are just as strong in the seven-a-side game.
Decorated coach Gary Walsh has now won three All-Ireland League titles, losing out just the once to Blackrock in a drop goal shoot-out.
Speaking after their most recent win, Gary was full of praise for the side who have grown from strength to strength.
"They are the best people to get involved with, the ladies. They have been the best to coach over the years," he said.
"They are like sponges, they are a dream to train and they are as enthusiastic a bunch as I have seen."
That last comment can be verified by those who witnessed first hand their Division 1 clinching win over St. Mary's this season.
The substitutes on the sideline were as enthusiastic as the players on the pitch. Each substitute was cheered on and every player replaced was congratulated as they left the field.
From time to time, the extended squad broke into song. The togetherness and love for the game of rugby that the UL Bohs side exude is quiet infectious.
The group, as are all successful sides, are tight knit. The bad news for their counterparts however is that they are recruiting and they want to improve.
"We are always looking for players to join us. It does not matter what level you are at rugby - all are welcome to join," added Walsh.
"That is the real enjoyment of coaching the ladies. We have all levels here from internationals to novices and they are such a welcoming group.
"The IRFU are playing a huge role at the moment. With the success of the Ireland Women's team in recent years, the incentive to be better is there and also the incentive to get involved is there also."
Walsh was ably assisted this past season by UL Bohemians director of rugby Ian Costello. The Munster 'A' coach has added his knowledge to an already well-run side.
"Ian Costello has been immense this season. He has attended some games and has been invaluable in training sessions also.
"The Women;s team have been lucky in recent years to have had great coaches and managers with them.
"Ed Torrie, (now with the clubs Under-21s), Jason Enright (now with the club's seconds), Colman Finn and Ian Costello have all helped immensely to making UL Bohs what they are today."
Indeed, one sign of a great set-up is the low turnover in squad numbers. Louise Beamish, Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan and Caroline Mahon have been part of all nine All-Ireland League wins.
The wins in the Munster and All-Ireland Cup competitions have been achieved without Bohs' Ireland international contingent, as they cannot play in those competitions.
With stars of the Women's game such as Beamish, Joy Neville and Niamh Briggs in their number, UL Bohs' future is particularly bright.
The Women's game in Ireland is growing all the time. The increased interest in rugby in general, coupled with the unbridled success of Tag rugby, is proving to be a breeding ground for the Women's game.
With teams like UL Bohs leading the way, it is not a bad model to follow.
UL Bohemians Women's Squad: Niamh Briggs, Carol Murphy, Niamh Kavanagh, Mairead Kelly, Aisling Hutchings, Patrique Kelly, Louise Beamish, Joy Neville, Fiona Hayes, Caroline Mahon, Jennifer O'Leary, Fiona Reidy, Kate Hennessy, Kate Sheehan, Fiona Coghlan, Claire Lewis, Jeannette Feighery, Claire Keating, Olivia Stapleton.
- With thanks to Donn O'Sullivan