It was a weekend for winning in style in the Women’s All-Ireland League as UL Bohemians, Railway Union and Galwegians each won their fixtures decisively, writes Kate Rowan.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, October 31-Sunday, November 1
UL BOHEMIANS 43 ST. MARY’S 7, Annacotty
RAILWAY UNION 39 HIGHFIELD 0, Park Avenue
COOKE 7 GALWEGIANS 24, Shaw’s Bridge
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY v OLD BELVEDERE (Walkover), Dub Lane
Old Belvedere also picked up five points due to Queen’s University conceding their match. Despite having a bye from this sixth round of competition, Blackrock are three points clear at the top of the table.
UL Bohemians welcomed St. Mary’s to Annacotty on Saturday in surprisingly balmy autumnal conditions that were perfectly conducive to running rugby. The final scoreline of 43-7 in favour of the hosts does not reflect the extremely competitive first half.
Bohs outside centre Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird opened the scoring with a try after just five minutes. Ireland captain Niamh Briggs could not add the extras.
St. Mary’s snapped into action at the restart and less than a minute later, the Dubliners’ number 8 Heather Cary levelled with a five-pointer of her own. The conversion from inside centre Saidhbhe O’Riordan was successful for a 7-5 lead.
Both sides were evenly matched for the next 20 minutes. Nic A Bhaird secured her second try of the afternoon nearing the half hour mark, with a superb solo run from outside the 22. This time Briggs converted for a 12-7 interval advantage, and at this point it looked as if the match could still go either way.
However, with Briggs conducting her side from out-half with aplomb, it appeared that everything was beginning to fall into place for the hosts while St. Mary’s began to fade. Former Highfield player Nic A Bhaird completed her hat-trick with a 44th minute score.
The floodgates opened with Briggs scoring a brace of tries and Ainé Staunton, sister of former Ireland international Jeremy Staunton, also dotted down. Inside centre Edel Murphy, a Kerry inter-county footballer, added the icing of the cake for UL with an 80th minute try.
Also on Saturday, Highfield’s trip to Sandymount to play Railway Union proved to be a difficult one as the home side scored six unanswered tries in an emphatic 39-0 victory.
Scores came courtesy of full-back Kim Flood, who also slotted four place-kicks, inside centre Susan Vaughan and number 8 Ciara Cooney, who was named in the Ireland Women’s squad for their upcoming Test against England. It was also a day for try-scoring props as loosehead Lindsay Peat tighthead Lucy O’Sullivan (video below) both got over the whitewash.
After beating Railway Union at home last week, Galwegians continued their good form with a 24-7 win on the road against Cooke. In what was an extremely physical and disjointed affair, the women from the west showed gritty determination throughout.
Outside centre Mairead Coyne, also a member of Ireland’s current extended squad, shone with a hat-trick of tries. However, it was second row Laura Feely who put her name to the first of ‘Wegians’ four touchdowns.
Cooke’s only reply came from a stunning length of the pitch run from former Ireland centre Grace Davitt. The result at Shaw’s Bridge saw the two sides switch places in the table, with Davitt’s side falling to sixth position and the victors rising to fifth.
As they were unable to field a full team, Queen’s were forced to concede their fixture against third-placed Old Belvedere. As a result, the ‘Belvo girls claimed five league points.
– With thanks to photographers Cian Ryan and Ann Marie Keane, and Joe Walsh for the video clip
ROUND 7 FIXTURES: Sunday, November 15
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
BLACKROCK v RAILWAY UNION, Stradbrook
GALWEGIANS v UL BOHEMIANS, Crowley Park
HIGHFIELD v COOKE, Woodleigh Park
ST. MARY’S v QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY, Templeville Road
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