In a fast-moving game featuring slick passing and good lines of running as well as some teak-tough tackling, UL Bohemians regained the Womens All-Ireland League Division One crown at the expense of holders and arch rivals Blackrock on a 33-7 scoreline at sunny Dubarry Park.
ALL-IRELAND WOMEN’S LEAGUE DIVISION ONE FINAL: Saturday, April 25
UL BOHEMIANS 33 BLACROCK 7, Dubarry Park
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Jeannette Feighery, Sarah Jane Cody, Lynne Cantwell, Patrique Kelly; Cons: Nicole Fitzgerald 4
Blackrock College: Try: Amy Davis; Con: Orla Creedon
Click here to view footage of the game and the post-match celebrations
Although UL Bohemians were worthy winners, the winning margin was not a fair reflection on the endeavours of Blackrock in what was a pretty competitive joust featuring the bulk of the Ireland Women’s squad.
But the Limerick girls had the superior cutting edge and this was promptly displayed in the opening moments when Jeannette Feighery raced in for a try with little more than a minute on the clock.
On 12 minutes, the flying winger added another top class finish with Nicole Fitzgerald adding the conversion for a 12-0 advantage and Blackrock were always playing catch-up thereafter.
With their taliswoman Tania Rosser leading by example, the Dubliners came much more into the game as the half progressed but just could not apply the finishing touch whenever they got inside UL Bohs 22 and the scoreline remained unchanged at half-time.
The winners really killed off the game just four minutes into the second period when replacement Sarah Jane Cody finished off a sweeping move for a try wide on the left which Fitzgerald converted excellently.
Blackrock finally got some reward for their steadfast efforts when their international winger Amy Davis touched down on 62 minutes after sustained phases and Orla Creedon converted this overdue try.
But six minutes later, UL Bohs showed sublime handling in the lead up to Patrique Kelly’s try before skipper Lynne Cantwell (pictured) left the Blackrock cover trailing in her wake for her side’s fifth try deep into added time.
Out-half Fitzgerald converted both tries to complete not only the 33-7 tally but also secure a unique All-Ireland League and Cup double for the club.
Joyous scenes followed and for two players, in particular, it was an occasion to behold.
Current Ireland Women’s captain Joy Neville, who has contributed so much to Irish Women’s rugby down through the years, was winning her first All-Ireland League winner’s medal after years of been on losing sides before she joined UL Bohs in 2007.
For Cantwell, the UL Bohs captain, it was an emotional day for her as she is taking time out from the game to venture to New Zealand shortly.
Buccaneers RFC was a fitting venue for a great day of rugby and the Athlone club were professional in every aspect of the day.
We would like to thank them for their superb hospitality as all of the competing squads had a great day and enjoyed the festivities after.
One minute’s silence was respectfully observed before the league decider in memory of Mark Andrews, the Women’s Competitions Director and former Ireland team manager, who sadly passed away recently.
Click here for a match report on the Women’s Division Two final.