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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 11 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 11 Review

The focus of the rugby gaze this weekend may have been on Italy but while the Ireland Women’s team were grabbing a bonus point win in L’Aquila, the business of the Women’s All-Ireland League continued on the home front. Aisling Crowe reviews the round 11 action.


COOKE 19 HIGHFIELD 15, Shaw’s Bridge

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ST. MARY’S 10 OLD BELVEDERE 8, Templeville Road

UL BOHEMIANS 50 GALWEGIANS 0, Thomond Park back pitch

Railway Union continued their charge up the table with a 41-0 defeat of Blackrock at Willow Lodge yesterday afternoon, boosted by the return of their Sevens stars from Sydney. The combined experience of Irish and Canadian Sevens and 15-a-side renown brought a six-try haul for Railway and helped them leapfrog Galwegians into third place as the scramble for the four play-off positions intensifies.

Canadian international Emma Taylor has been making her presence felt on the scoreboard of late and she opened the scoring for the hosts, grabbing the ball from a turnover at a scrum and running in for a try.

Kim Flood showed no signs of jet-lag on her return to action following Ireland’s eighth place finish at the World Sevens Series tournament in Sydney last week. She helped herself to two tries in the first half down the right wing, converting one of them.

Susan Vaughan came into the side at half-time, the centre another of those who lined out for Ireland in the Sydney sun. She too helped herself to a brace of tries, one of which was converted by Flood.

Out-half Nikki Caughey chased her own kick from inside the Railway Union half and eventually the ball found its way back to her, allowing her to dive over for the sixth and final try of the afternoon which she converted.

“The whole team played very well today,” said Railway’s Cliodhna Moloney. “It was an impressive display with the forwards working very hard to claim possession and the backs running good lines. The return of more experienced players like Kim and Susan combined with Larissa Muldoon and Emma Taylor was a real help for the team and helped spread the responsibility around.”

The bonus point win has Railway Union breathing down the necks of Old Belvedere, with only four points separating the sides now, after ‘Belvo’s narrow loss at the home of Dublin rivals St. Mary’s.

Mary’s 10-8 victory has tightened up the race for survival in the bottom half of the table with themselves and Cooke closing in on Blackrock and Highfield above them.

An opportunistic try from number 8 and captain Carol Staunton off the back of an Old Belvedere lineout levelled the scores after winger Leslie Ring had given the visitors the lead thanks to her try on the right.

Aine Donnelly ensured Old Belvedere went into the dressing room at the break with an 8-5 lead thanks to her penalty. That lasted for only 14 minutes of the second half as Mary’s winger Niamh Connolly was on the end of a brilliant pass from centre Cathy Baker to score a try out wide.

“It was a good game all round,” remarked Eily Coghlan of St. Mary’s. “In training during the week we heavily focused on lineouts and scrums and to ensure we were quick off scrums and getting into their faces. I’m really proud of the girls today.”

That win, coupled with a 19-15 loss up in Belfast for Highfield against Cooke, sets up a mouth-watering tie between St. Mary’s and the Cork side next Sunday, as Highfield attempt a last-gasp run for fourth place.

Laura Guest, former Ireland international and now Highfield head coach, reflected on her side’s loss to Cooke, saying: “It was a tight game and there wasn’t much in it for the 80 minutes. Christine Archer scored twice for us from two mauls but unfortunately Cooke were more up for it and they are hard to beat.

“They got a seven-pointer at the end to win the game when we thought we had a chance for a five-pointer. Difficult conditions made handling hard for both teams so there are no excuses and we have a massive game against St. Mary’s next Sunday.”

At Thomond Park it was business as usual for UL Bohemians who kept open the prospect of an unbeaten season with a comprehensive 50-0 triumph over Galwegians.

Kerry goalkeeper Edel Murphy scored one try and kicked five conversions in the eight-try mauling of Galwegians that helped UL stretch their lead at the top of the table to 14 points with three games left to play in the regular season.

ROUND 12 FIXTURES: Sunday, February 19

Kick-off 1pm unless stated –

BLACKROCK (6th) v COOKE (7th), Stradbrook

GALWEGIANS (4th) v RAILWAY UNION (3rd), Crowley Park

HIGHFIELD (5th) v ST. MARY’S (8th), Woodleigh Park

OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (1st), Anglesea Road

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table