Women’s All-Ireland League leaders Blackrock remain unbeaten after the latest round of games, while newly-promoted side Cooke claimed a notable scalp on the road. Aisling Crowe brings us a full round-up.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Sunday, October 25
GALWEGIANS 20 RAILWAY UNION 15, Crowley Park
HIGHFIELD 3 BLACKROCK 25, Woodleigh Park
ST. MARY’S 5 COOKE 31, Templeville Road
OLD BELVEDERE 25 UL BOHEMIANS 12, Anglesea Road
Templeville Road was the scene of a dramatic encounter between hosts St. Mary’s and Ulster’s newest club in the top flight, Cooke. Coached by former Ireland star Grace Davitt, the Belfast girls showed much of the wily centre’s skill and determination to seal a famous 31-5 away win when forced to play three-quarters of the match with 14 players.
Cooke had the perfect start to their day in Dublin, scoring the opening try of the game after only ten minutes. They ended the first half in similar style with out-half Eliza Downey converting her own try as the seconds ticked away towards half-time.
In between those vignettes, the real drama unfolded as a high tackle on a Cooke flanker resulted in her being sent-off for her reaction to the tackle, and the St. Mary’s out-half spending ten minutes in the sin-bin for the tackle.
Despite losing a stalwart of their pack, Cooke fought tigerishly throughout the remainder of the game. Downey (pictured above) crossed for her second try of the afternoon with an hour played but her side were reduced to 13 players after another yellow card.
St. Mary’s made their numerical advantage pay to the tune of five points, but Davitt herself bagged the bonus point score which she also converted. And with the last play of the game, Cooke’s players hauled their weary bodies once more up the Dublin turf to make it a fifth try and a second conversion for Davitt. A bonus point victory was the reward for a fighting stand by northerners.
Over in Galway, the Halloween fun had to wait until after the serious business of the match against Railway Union was finished. In a tight and intensely fought game, there was a just a single try in it at the end as Galwegians came out on top – 20-15.
Ex-Railway Union ace Nicole Fowley showed no mercy to her former team-mates as she took just six minutes to score the game’s opening try for ‘Wegians.
Railway hit back with five points of their own ten minutes later, but Clare Raftery restored Galwegians’ lead with a finely-executed penalty before Mairead Coyne (pictured above) gave the Connacht outfit an eight-point lead at the break, scoring their second try.
She added her second and the team’s third not long after the break and with Raftery adding the conversion, the home side appeared set to coast to victory.
However, a yellow card for second row Tracey Gannon gave the visitors impetus and the fight-back was suddenly on. Despite throwing every weapon in their arsenal at the Blues, Railway Union came up short and Galwegians clung on for glory.
Two glorious sprints sent Old Belvedere on their way to a 25-12 success at home to UL Bohemians. First, Sharon Lynch stole the ball in a tackle and galloped 60 metres to score a try before Aine Donnelly intercepted the ball when UL had an overlap and were heading for a try. She duly scampered 70 metres in the other direction to give ‘Belvo a commanding lead.
They were just two of the standout moments in a frenetic and fiercely contested game that saw six tries and plenty of star names on show, including Ireland internationals Nora Stapleton and Niamh Briggs.
Blackrock made it five wins from as many games, claiming a 25-3 triumph away to Highfield. The unbeaten league leaders continued their sizzling early season form, this time emerging victorious at Woodleigh Park to remain the team to catch.
ROUND 6 FIXTURES: Sunday, November 1
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
UL BOHEMIANS v ST. MARY’S, Annacotty, Saturday, October 31, 12pm
RAILWAY UNION v HIGHFIELD, Park Avenue, Saturday, October 31, 2pm
COOKE v GALWEGIANS, Shaw’s Bridge
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY v OLD BELVEDERE, Dub Lane
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