Old Belvedere will go into the New Year as league leaders after their eight-point victory over Galwegians at Anglesea Road today, writes Aisling Crowe. The defending champions clambered ahead of unbeaten UL Bohemians on scoring difference after the Limerick side’s game at home to Cooke was postponed.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Sunday, November 20
HIGHFIELD 8 BLACKROCK 5, Woodleigh Park
OLD BELVEDERE 18 GALWEGIANS 10, Anglesea Road
RAILWAY UNION 50 ST. MARY’S 14, Willow Lodge
UL BOHEMIANS v COOKE, Annacotty (match postponed due to the death of Cooke player Ashleigh Baxter’s brother Cameron – RIP)
The new format of the league is working if the tightness of the table is anything to go by. Old Belvedere and UL Bohemians are both on 32 points with four try-scoring bonus points apiece. Old Belvedere have one more game played than their Munster rivals and only their slightly better scoring difference has them a nose in front of the rest, as the competition takes a break for December’s IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Series.
Today’s meeting of ‘Belvo and Galwegians was a tight affair with momentum hard to control for both teams because of the huge volume of turnovers conceded in contact. The hosts worked their way into a 10-0 lead in the first half with tries from hooker Jenny Finlay, deploying the afterburners of a winger, and Franziska Klappoth with a mazy run. Ciara O’Connor pulled one back for Galwegians to leave just five points at half-time.
Laura Feely levelled the game with a try midway through the second half, but Finlay, who had a magnificent game, popped up with her second try. Jenny Murphy, who normally plays at centre, was in the number 10 role today and landed the clinching penalty that gave Old Belvedere an 18-10 verdict.
“It was a strange game with plenty of turnovers,” said Ruth McElroy of Old Belvedere. “Jenny Murphy’s tactical kicking was excellent and when we did manage to keep the ball and go through phases, we played well.”
It was also a good weekend for Railway Union who continued their rise up the table to fourth courtesy of a 50-14 bonus point success at home to St. Mary’s. They now occupy the final play-off place just behind UL Bohs and Galwegians.
Star of the show was Sinead Taylor, who scored 20 of Railway’s total points, racking up two tries and five conversions. Scrum half Ailsa Hughes, Sarah-Jane Cody and Niamh Byrne (pictured above), with a superlative individual try, also touched down for the home side.
Taylor is a relatively recent addition to Railway Union’s team but the army private is an enormously talented sportswoman and has represented Offaly in camogie and football and combines rugby with her role as a striker for Shelbourne Ladies in the Women’s National League.
“Sinead’s form has been improving as she plays more rugby,” said John Cronin, director of rugby at Railway Union. “She is very strong and very quick and none of her tries today were easy ones, she had to run them in from 50 or 60 metres.”
Highfield’s back-to-back triumphs over Blackrock have transformed their fortunes. They prevailed 8-5 at Woodleigh Park in a closely-fought fixture today. Last month the Cork side languished at the foot of the table but following their double over Blackrock, they have improved to sixth position and are just two points behind the Dubliners in the standings.
ROUND 9 FIXTURES: Sunday, January 15
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
BLACKROCK (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (2nd), Stradbrook
COOKE (7th) v ST. MARY’S (8th), Shaw’s Bridge
GALWEGIANS (3rd) v HIGHFIELD (6th), Crowley Park
RAILWAY UNION (4th) v OLD BELVEDERE (1st), Willow Lodge
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