Blackrock’s Stradbrook pitches had been invaded by Wallabies as the Australian men’s squad trained there ahead of their Test against Ireland. Today, however, it was back to business as usual, as Blackrock hosted Railway Union in a feisty Women’s All-Ireland League encounter. Kate Rowan rounds up the Division 1 action.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Sunday, November 23
DIVISION 1 RESULTS –
Blackrock 19 Railway Union 15, Stradbrook
Old Belvedere 10 Galwegians 10, Anglesea Road
St. Mary’s 15 Highfield 22, Templeville Road
UL Bohemians 31 Tralee 0, Annacotty
Blackrock and Railway Union were second and third respectively in the table going into this penultimate round of the Women’s All-Ireland League.
Railway commenced the afternoon’s scoring with Ireland Sevens squad member Ailsa Hughes dotting down after ten minutes. Centre Kim Flood missed the conversion.
Blackrock surged back three minutes late as openside flanker Debbie Clarke finished off a try. Jeamie Deacon was also unable to add the conversion, so it was level at 5-5.
Soon after, the hosts edged ahead courtesy of a Deacon penalty, but just short of the half hour mark another of Railway’s Ireland Sevens representatives, winger Emma Murphy, scored a superb individual try which Flood failed to convert.
The nip-and-tuck nature of this tight fixture continued with Blackrock loosehead prop Karla Dunne going over for a try just before the interval.
Blackrock started the second period brightly and chalked up a further three points through the boot of Deacon.
Railway continued to show immense tenacity and got within a point of the hosts when New Zealand-born out-half Mere Baker scored after 65 minutes.
The remainder of the match was an edgy affair. Blackrock’s game management, tactical nous and experience playing in the top division counted in the closing minutes as they ran out 19-15 winners thanks to another Deacon penalty.
League leaders Old Belvedere have at times this season appeared unbeatable as their talented squad, including many of the leading lights of Ireland’s Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign, ran riot against their opposition.
However, last year’s All-Ireland Cup winners Galwegians, coached by Connacht back rower George Naoupu, played a fantastic defensive game to hold them to a 10-10 draw at Anglesea Road.
‘Belvo’s two tries came from Czech-born scrum half Kamila Rousova and full-back Marta Pascual. Winger Amy Donoghue opened the scoring for Galwegians, while replacement Noreen Coyne’s 76th-minute try levelled the match for the women from the west.
A spirited St. Mary’s collected their first point of the season, a losing bonus point, against a dogged Highfield. The Templeville Road fixture ended 22-15 in favour of the Cork side, whose scores included a brace of tries from Ireland number 8 Heather O’Brien.
In the only fixture outside of Dublin, UL Bohemians posted a convincing 31-0 victory over fellow Munster side Tralee in Annacotty.