Cooke stormed the St. Mary’s barricades on Templeville Road to record their first away win of the season with a bonus point thrown in for added impact, writes Aisling Crowe.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Sunday, October 23
HIGHFIELD 17 GALWEGIANS 22, Woodleigh Park
OLD BELVEDERE 17 RAILWAY UNION 12, Anglesea Road
ST. MARY’S 7 COOKE 34, Templeville Road
UL BOHEMIANS 25 BLACKROCK 7, Annacotty
The first half was a dogged, determined affair with a depleted St. Mary’s pack chipping in with some epic defensive efforts, cutting off Cooke’s attackers at every pass. It was the home side who had the first try of the game too with Saidhbhe O’Riordan converting a score by Ireland international Orla Fitzsimons.
“It took us a while to wear them down,” said Grace Davitt, coach of the victorious Cooke team. “We put in a good team performance and although the score didn’t reflect it, we put in a good showing against Old Belvedere last week which helped bring back some of the belief into the team.”
Five tries and a 34-7 triumph over Mary’s illustrated clearly how intensely that conviction burned inside the northerners. Emma Jordan claimed two tries and out-half Jemma Jackson grabbed a full house of scores with a try, penalty and three conversions. Ireland ace Clare McLaughlin celebrated her return to her club with a brace of tries.
Davitt added: “We played to our strengths today and moved St. Mary’s around the park. We didn’t allow them to settle and we managed to keep moving the ball. The forwards provided a great platform for the backs and Amy Davis at nine passed good, quick ball. We came down to Dublin knowing we could win and we were determined to do so.”
The five points garnered allowed Cooke to leapfrog Railway Union into fifth place in the table and they are only a point behind Blackrock, who lost out 25-7 to five-try hosts UL Bohemians.
In Annacotty, the league leaders maintained their unbeaten run with a bonus point victory over the Dubliners. UL grabbed an early try but Eimear Corri hared down the wing and evaded all tackles to dot the ball down under the posts, making the conversion simple and give Blackrock a two-point lead.
That lead was short-lived as Bohemians’ response was swift and ruthless. Niamh Kavanagh ran in for a try to put them 10-7 in front. Blackrock held them scoreless for the rest of the first half but the hosts cut loose after the break.
Ciara Griffin came on to score a try before Ireland captain Niamh Briggs added a fourth and in-form winger Kavanagh got her second of the day to help UL secure the bonus point.
Galwegians’ latest bonus point victory leaves them two points off UL at the top of the table, but it was a close run thing as Highfield claimed a losing bonus point in a narrow 22-17 defeat to the westerners in Cork.
Mairead Coyne’s late try rescued the win for ‘Wegians who trailed Highfield 12 -7 at half-time and were tied at 17-points apiece before Coyne’s later intervention settled the issue.
Meanwhile, Railway Union let slip another lead, the fourth time they have lost from a winning position this season, going down 17-12 away to Old Belvedere.
Out-half Nikki Caughey’s first half try and another, this time from tighthead Katie O’Dwyer, had the visitors two points up. They were still leading with ten minutes to go when they conceded a penalty. Ireland star Nora Stapleton opted to kick for touch instead of going for the posts, and from the resulting lineout, the pack drove within a metre of the Railway line before hooker Jennie Finlay managed to crash over.
Stapleton converted from far out on the left hand side to put five points between the sides. Despite severe pressure, Old Belvedere stood firm for a victory that sees them three points behind UL as the league takes a week off.
ROUND 7 FIXTURES: Sunday, November 6
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
BLACKROCK (4th) v HIGHFIELD (8th), Stradbrook, Saturday, November 5, 4pm
ST. MARY’S (7th) v RAILWAY UNION (6th), Templeville Road, 12.30pm
COOKE (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (1st), Shaw’s Bridge
GALWEGIANS (2nd) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Crowley Park
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