UL Bohemians were deserving winners of the 2012/13 Women’s All-Ireland League Division 1 title when they defeated Cooke in the final game of the campaign in Belfast at the weekend. The success continued their excellent winning spree with 11 league titles in 12 years.
Ireland Women’s Sevens star Jeannette Feighery captained a UL Bohemians squad that is packed with experience and includes several international players including Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan.
Our match report comes courtesy of UL Bohemians:
With Old Belvedere and Highfield very close behind them on points in the league table, it was a must win game for UL Bohs in order for them to lift another league crown.
Despite having had some comprehensive wins during the season, nothing was being left to chance. And boy did the UL side turn up trumps on the day. Within the first 20 minutes they had scored five tries and three successful conversions.
It all got off to a flying (and I mean flying) start when Bohs collected the ball from the kick-off and with some beautiful handling, it eventually got to the effervescent Feighery who raced down the right wing and scored under the posts. Jeannette also scored the last try of the game, and another three in between.
Her leadership qualities and enthusiasm are infectious and in the end she was awarded with a well-deserved player of the match award.
UL Bohs were really under no great threat and the worry beads were back in the pocket early on. The scores were coming thick and fast with a well taken try on the left wing by Olivia Stapleton (the first of her hat-trick) after 7 minutes and Jeanette got her second two minutes later.
Niamh Briggs increased the lead with two good conversions. The next try was as a result of some great driving by forwards when they moved with the ball from the 22 and got a pushover try, scored by number 8 Anna Caplice.
It was a wonderful example of control by the forwards. Later on, Anna got possession and made a great break but was very unlucky not to get her second. Briggs was in for try number five in the 20th minute which she also converted.
Cooke then successfully managed to break through the UL Bohs defence and Grace Davitt got in for their only score of the match.
It was hard to keep up with the pace of the game because three minutes later Stapleton again scored in the corner, following the usual slick passing that has become part of the UL Bohs game. Just before half-time Olivia got her hat-trick try. At the break UL Bohs were 41-5 ahead.
Soon after the restart, Briggs scored try number eight and within the next five minutes Feighery scored two more tries, one of which was converted by Briggs.
Once again that great trooper Fiona Hayes, the number 6 who does a huge amount of work with the forwards, got in for a lovely try.
Cooke made a number of breaks but were unable to get through the UL Bohs defence and Davitt was unlucky to be denied on a couple of occasions.
A try by Nicole Fitzgerald and finally another by Jeannette, with these three being converted by Briggs, brought the match to a satisfying conclusion for the visitors and league winners.
The control and possession by the forwards in the scrum and lineouts and the ability to get the ball flowing to the backs throughout the game played a major part as UL Bohs triumphed on a 79-5 scoreline.
Cooke were very gracious in defeat and showed great hospitality and friendship throughout the day. UL Bohs are looking forward to meeting them again in the future.
Another great season for a great UL Bohs team. Well done to all involved, including team manager Paul Hennessy, head coach Sean Rennison and the backroom staff.
UL BOHEMIANS WOMEN: Ashling Hutchings; Liz Burke, Niamh Briggs, Jeannette Feighery (capt), Olivia Stapleton; Nicole Fitzgerald, Louise Costelloe; Fiona Coghlan, Gillian Bourke, Leah Barbour, Jennifer O’Leary, Maria Eviston, Fiona Hayes, Rosie Flanagan, Anna Caplice.
Repalcements: Claire Lewis, Kate Sheehan, Lorna Barry, Sarah Jane Cody, Charlene Barter.