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Impressive Railway Union Lift Women’s All-Ireland Cup

Impressive Railway Union Lift Women’s All-Ireland Cup

Emer O’Mahony and Kim Flood were the star performers at Templeville Road today as Railway Union were crowned Women’s All-Ireland Cup champions for the first time with an outstanding 27-0 victory over Highfield.


RAILWAY UNION 27 HIGHFIELD 0, Templeville Road

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Scorers: Railway Union: Tries: Emer O’Mahony 2, Emma Murphy, Kim Flood; Cons: Kim Flood 2; Pen: Kim Flood
Highfield: –

The lethal Emer O’Mahony and Kim Flood contributed a combined tally of 22 points and despite appearing in their fourth consecutive cup final, Highfield had no answer to the pace and power of Railway Union.

Highfield were battle-hardened heading into this contest after recording narrow wins over Old Belvedere (10-7) and UL Bohemians (12-5) on their way to another final. They were hoping to secure their second cup success in four seasons. However, their Division 1 rivals, Railway Union, proved to be formidable opponents.
The south Dubliners recovered from an early 10-0 deficit to overcome Highfield in the league last October, and following the recent triumph for their junior side in the Leinster Women’s Division 2 final at Donnybrook, confidence was sky high in the Sandymount club’s ranks.
Indeed, they started in lively fashion at Templeville Road and with just four minutes gone, the deadlock had been broken. A powerful line break from inside centre Nicole Fowley brought Railway into the Highfield 22 and even though her run towards the posts was eventually halted, winger O’Mahony dotted down in the corner after possession was transferred out to the right.
Flood’s tricky touchline conversion was agonisingly wide of the mark, but Railway had certainly issued a serious statement of intent. After an anxious start, their Cork opponents were beginning to make some headway and when out-half Norita Duggan opted for touch from a close range penalty, they put Railway under significant pressure.
A clever kick towards the whitewash by Nicola Scully almost yielded a levelling 10th minute try – only for Railway to ground the ball in the nick of time. This offered a glimpse of Highfield’s attacking potential, but their line was breached for a second time towards the end of the first quarter.
The excellent O’Mahony broke free on the right wing to register another five-pointer and thanks to Flood’s successful convertion, they had opened a 12 point cushion. Highfield, who were minus the services of ineligible Ireland star Heather O’Brien, found themselves on the back foot for much of the opening period, and were not helped by the strong breeze that was blowing against them.

In contrast, Railway continued to pose problems for the Cork side and subsequently extended their advantage with a 33rd minute penalty from Flood. They pushed for a third try as the interval beckoned and although they came up short, they had reason to be pleased with their 15-0 ead.
The youthful Highfield team were in a precarious position when the action resumed and they hoped that the introduction of Amy O’Callaghan and Chris Fanning would energise their play. They certainly made a difference after coming on, but Railway were also aware of the dangers of complacency.
A try for Highfield may well have turned the game on its head, but instead it was Railway who effectively put the outcome beyond doubt 14 minutes into the half. The exceptional Flood embarked on a memorable individual sprint for the line, touching down in clinical fashion to the right of the posts.
Her conversion attempt drifted past the target, but she was given the opportunity to make amends in the 60th minute. Emma Murphy joined fellow winger O’Mahony in scoring a try – she broke out of a congested area and grounded at a perfect angle for Flood’s follow-up conversion.
It was a case of damage limitation for Highfield in the closing stages and to their credit, they persisted with their challenge. They managed to apply some sustained pressure deep in Railway territory, but they simply could not break down a stern defence.
Railway opted to unload their bench as the final whistle approached, and it will be a day that will live long in the memory of their victorious squad.

RAILWAY UNION: Claire Ryan; Emma Murphy, Kim Flood, Nicole Fowley, Emer O’Mahony; Mere Baker, Ailisa Hughes; Shirley Corcoran, Lisa Callan, Lucy O’Sullivan, Sarah Cranley, Susan Fogarty, Cliodhna Moloney, Jennie Finlay, Ciara Cooney.
Replacements used: Aoife Maher for Callan (43 mins), Suzanne Hughes for O’Sullivan, Katie O’Dwyer for Cranley, Melissa Slevin for O’Mahony (all 65), O’Sullivan for Moloney, Ali Bird for Fowley (both 76), Callan for Finlay (78), Fowley for Baker (79).

HIGHFIELD: Laura Sheehan; Jayne Pennefather, Danielle Morgan, Nicola Scully, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird; Norita Duggan, Ellen Murphy; Niamh English, Amy Desmond, Leah Lyons, Gerda Coyne, Elaine Anthony, Aoife Moore, Roisin Ormand, Deirdre Lynch.
Replacements used: Amy O’Callaghan for Sheehan, Chris Fanning for Anthony (both half-time), Leah Bentham for Morgan (60), Hannah Lane for Desmond (69), Amy Thompson for English, Aoife Buckley for Lynch (both 79).
Referee: Helen O’Reilly (IRFU)