Jump to main content


Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 4 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 4 Review

Crowley Park in Galway was the setting for Saturday evening’s showdown between the only two teams with perfect records in the Women’s All-Ireland League, writes Aisling Crowe.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, October 8-Sunday, October 9


Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article


HIGHFIELD 14 COOKE 7, Woodleigh Park

OLD BELVEDERE 65 ST. MARY’S 3, Anglesea Road

Galwegians were defending a two-point lead over the game’s behemoths UL Bohemians at the top of the table, and with so much at stake, even this early in the season, a fierce fight for supremacy was guaranteed in the city of the tribes.

It is the Limerick tribe who hold the best hand after a bruising encounter between two teams in the habit of winning. Hard hits and heavy knocks as both sides pummelled each other looking to score that knock-out blow which would keep their unblemished records blot free.

UL Bohs made the much better start in their quest for glory with in-form centre Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird crossing the whitewash for a try after 10 minutes. Ireland captain Niamh Briggs added the conversion.

The Limerick women kept up intense pressure on the Galwegians defence in a war of attrition, and eventually, the hosts cracked a minute before half-time. Rachel Allen, not that one but the UL Bohs inside centre, powered her way across the line along with the Galwegians defenders desperately clinging to her.

‘Wegians were unbowed and went into the dressing rooms at the break with three points on the board thanks to a Nicole Fowley penalty on the half-time whistle.

Re-energised by that score, Galwegians tore into the visitors in the second half, pinning them back inside their own 22. Five minutes in, Sarah Jane Fox scored a try for the home side that was converted by Fowley to bring them within two points of UL Bohs – 12-10.

Sustained pressure from the hosts could not be converted into scores and a Briggs penalty on 50 minutes eked out a five-point gap for her team. Although UL were forced to continually rebut the Galwegians attackers, they managed to close out a hard-fought victory which moves them to the summit. Only a single point separates the two teams as Galwegians claimed a losing bonus point.

Smarting from losing their own unbeaten record to UL Bohs last time out, reigning champions Old Belvedere were were intent on regaining the winning thread and St. Mary’s were their victims, on the wrong end of a 65-3 drubbing at Anglesea Road.

“We could tell in the warm-up that it was going to be different today,” said Belvedere replacement prop Ruth McElroy. “All the long passes and pops we attempted to make the last day that didn’t come off were sticking today. Everything really fell into place for us today and everyone connected with each other.”

Old Belvedere were helped by the return of some heavy artillery in the backs with Ireland stars Nora Stapleton and Jenny Murphy making their first starts of the season alongside Jackie Shiels.

St. Mary’s were not frightened by the prospect of facing the firepower in the Belvedere ranks and dominated the opening exchanges, forcing the hosts onto the defensive from the kick-off. It was Mary’s who opened the scoring, a penalty in the Old Belvedere 22 for not rolling away was converted but that was to be the only points Mary’s would score for the 80 minutes.

Old Belvedere hooker Jenny Finlay got on the end of a wonderful take from the restart by prop Ailis Egan to run in the first of her two tries. Ireland winger Alison Miller claimed four of ‘Belvo’s try haul with Franziska Klappoth also getting a brace for herself.

The returning Stapleton also scored and converted her own try to help the team to a bonus point success, which leaves them in third place just two points off UL Bohs.

The most northerly and southerly teams in the league clashed at Woodleigh Park in Cork on Sunday afternoon and the result was a victory for the southern side. Highfield of Cork overcame Belfast’s Cooke by 14 points to seven with Laura Guest beating Grace Davitt in the battle of the Ireland internationals turned coaches. It was a first win of the season for Highfield and moved them off the foot of the table.

Railway Union sunk to the bottom following their 13-8 loss on Saturday evening away to Blackrock. They began the game brightly and took an early lead with Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney’s try putting them ahead.

Blackrock responded but an immense defensive effort from Railway Union kept them out, three lineouts on the five-metre line resulting in no points.

Aoife Tyrrell’s early second half penalty gave Blackrock a foundation to build upon and scrum half Niamh Griffin’s darting run from a ruck, five metres out, put them into the lead for the first time. Katie Norris scored the decisive second try to give the hosts a five-point victory.

ROUND 5 FIXTURES: Sunday, October 16

Kick-off 1pm unless stated –

COOKE (5th) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Shaw’s Bridge

GALWEGIANS (2nd) v BLACKROCK (4th), Crowley Park

RAILWAY UNION (8th) v HIGHFIELD (7th), Willow Lodge

UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v ST. MARY’S (6th), Annacotty

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table