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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 5 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 5 Review

A pall of sadness and grief hung over the country’s rugby grounds as word came through from Paris of the sudden death of Munster head coach Anthony Foley, just as the fifth round of games in the Women’s All-Ireland League kicked off. Aisling Crowe rounds up Sunday’s fixtures.


COOKE 14 OLD BELVEDERE 45, Shaw’s Bridge

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UL BOHEMIANS 36 ST. MARY’S 10, UL North Campus 4G pitch

Pacesetters UL Bohemians were at home to St. Mary’s in the Treaty city and they did the Munster legend proud, running in six tries for a bonus point success that keeps them a nose in front of their pursuers.

A five-try salvo in 20 minutes midway through the first half gave UL a lead they never relinquished. Bohs’ much vaunted back-line showed their worth with Liz Burke and Niamh Kavanagh both scoring a brace and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird adding the fifth on 33 minutes.

Understandably, St. Mary’s took a little time to regain their composure having opened the scoring and matched the home side before UL let rip.

Half-time replacement Orli Schlachter made an impact at prop forward for the Dubliners and scored St. Mary’s only try, which was converted. They managed to hold Bohs to a single try in the second half when pacy winger Burke ran the length of the pitch for her hat-trick score in a game that was much more competitive than the final scoreline of 36-10 suggests.

Last year’s champions Old Belvedere moved up to second place after their 45-14 victory over Cooke in Belfast. The Dubliners were in full attacking mode once again and their firepower allowed them to outpoint Cooke and leapfrog Galwegians in the table because of their vastly superior scoring difference.

“It was nice to kick on from last week and build on that success,” said Ruth McElroy. Ireland’s flying bolt on the wing, Alison Miller, helped herself to another three tries but first blood went to Cooke, who went a converted try ahead before Old Belvedere cranked into gear.

Maria Kenny, making her debut at full-back, was as assured as a veteran under the high ball and burned up the field in attack and she was the catalyst for Old Belvedere’s opening try.

Linda Djougang, with three Cooke players clinging to her, barreled over the line from a lineout move to help her side to a 31-7 lead at half-time. The second period was a more even contest and Miller and the travelling fans were forced to wait until the hour mark for a score, courtesy of the Portlaoise woman.

Cooke were relentless in their pressurising and got the score their efforts at least deserved when blocking an attempted clearance from a scrum inside the Old Belvedere 22. In the final play, Nora Stapleton’s quick thinking and fast feet added a sixth try for ‘Belvo to leave them two points behind UL in the standings.

Meanwhile, Galwegians had a single point to spare over Blackrock in Galway and the westerners were left biting their nails as the clock ticked towards full-time. The game came right down to wire with Carmela Morley’s try closing the gap for Blackrock to 13-12 with the conversion still to come.

A very difficult kick, made more so by the wet and windy conditions, the ball drifted away from the posts much to the relief of the home side, who clung on to win thanks to Mairead Coyne’s two unconverted tries.

In a high-scoring affair at Willow Lodge, Railway Union hit Highfield for six tries when recording their first win after three successive tight losses. Ireland forward Lindsay Peat got over for a brace of tries as Railway defeated the Cork team 36-17.

“We are finding our way back,” remarked Railway’s director of rugby John Cronin. “It has been very frustrating with three losing bonus point defeats in a row over the last few weeks, so this win was very important for confidence.”

ROUND 6 FIXTURES: Sunday, October 23

Kick-off 1pm unless stated –

HIGHFIELD (8th) v GALWEGIANS (3rd), Woodleigh Park

OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v RAILWAY UNION (5th), Anglesea Road

ST. MARY’S (7th) v COOKE (6th), Templeville Road

UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v BLACKROCK (4th), Annacotty

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table