A draw, a close encounter and two one-sided affairs made for an eventful Sunday in Women’s All-Ireland League Division 1, writes Kate Rowan.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Sunday, October 12
DIVISION 1 RESULTS –
Galwegians 24 UL Bohemians 24, Crowley Park
Highfield 13 Railway Union 15, Woodleigh Park
St. Mary’s 0 Old Belvedere 66, Templeville Road
Tralee 0 Blackrock 39, O’Dowd Park
Galway’s Crowley Park provided the backdrop for what could be aptly described as a game of two halves between hosts Galwegians and UL Bohemians.
Galwegians, coached by Connacht’s Kiwi back rower George Naoupu, got off to a dream start with a try from scrum half Mary Healy after just 40 seconds with out-half Clare Rafferty adding the extras.
The home side continued to exert dominance with Rafferty (pictured below) scoring a try from a quickly-taken penalty in the 22nd minute but she missed the conversion.
Bohemians clawed back a try just before the half hour mark with outside centre Louise Galvin dotting down. Ireland’s World Cup full-back Niamh Briggs duly converted.
Galwegians full-back Mairead Coyne, whose two sisters Noreen and Patricia made appearances from the bench, scored her team’s third try. Rafferty’s conversion concluded the scoring for the first half.
After the interval, UL began to turn around their fortunes with a performance of huge intensity. This hard work was rewarded after 52 minutes when winger Ashling Hutchings scored after collecting from a brilliant box kick from Briggs.
Bohs continued to apply the pressure on a very heavy pitch. Replacement second row Valerie Mitchell went in for a try after making a solo break, bringing the Limerick girls back to within two points of Galwegians with less than 15 minutes left on the clock.
Desperate not to let the game slip away from them, Galwegians added another five points courtesy of their captain and tighthead prop Ruth O’Reilly.
However, the visitors showed impressive composure and determination to level the match in the 76th minute courtesy of a try from inside centre Mairead Kelly and a vital conversion from Briggs.
Defending league champions Old Belvedere continue to ooze class as they ran riot in a 66-0 victory over an injury-depleted St. Mary’s at Templeville Road, scoring an impressive ten tries.
Blackrock also dazzled away from home. Ireland international Tania Rosser was again in commanding form, directing operations from out-half as ‘Rock beat Tralee 39-0 at a balmy O’Dowd Park.
Blackrock, who are coached by Ross McCormack and Amy Davis, are the only side to keep their opposition scoreless over both rounds of AIL action so far.
Meanwhile, newly-promoted Railway Union showed character on a good weekend for Dublin clubs, travelling to Cork and beating Highfield 15-13. A 79th minute try from winger Emer O’Mahony clinched the win for the visitors in a lively encounter.
– With thanks to photographers Liam Byrne (St. Mary’s) and Mark White (www.scoobyphoto.com)