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Cup Success Sees UL Bohemians Women Complete Famous Treble

Cup Success Sees UL Bohemians Women Complete Famous Treble

UL Bohemians crowned a campaign that was near flawless with a 26-17 Women’s All-Ireland Cup final victory over Blackrock at Dubarry Park this afternoon, writes Aisling Crowe.


Scorers: Blackrock: Tries: Eimear Corri, Carmela Morey, Niamh Griffin; Con: Michelle Claffey
UL Bohemians: Tries: Liz Burke 2, Sarah Hartigan, Chloe Pearse; Cons: Edel Murphy 3

HT: Blackrock 5 UL Bohemians 14

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Scorers: Rathdrum: Try: Sammy McCoy
Tullamore: Tries: Ciara Dunican, Alma Egan; Cons: Pauline Keating 2

HT: Rathdrum 5 Tullamore 0

UL Bohemians added the final trophy of the season to their Munster Senior Cup and All-Ireland League triumphs to secure a tremendous hat-trick of Women’s senior titles for 2016/17.

Mike Storey’s charges were beaten just once during a season that encompassed the newly-expanded All-Ireland League format of 14 games for each team, an approach which was hailed as a success by the clubs involved.

On the Athlone pitch, winger Liz Burke opened the scoring, dashing down the flank after 14 minutes for UL Bohs’ first try of the game which was converted by place-kicker Edel Murphy for a 7-0 lead.

Five minutes later, Sarah Hartigan crashed in under the posts for the second try, and again the reliable Murphy was unerring with the conversion.

Blackrock hit back through their breakthrough star of the season, Eimear Corri, the Portlaoise teenager engaging turbo speed down the right wing after a good passing movement among the backs to give the Dubliners five hard-earned points.

The scores remained static for the remaining 15 minutes of the first half but UL Bohs extended their lead three minutes after the restart when Chloe Pearse, playing at number 8, was in possession of the ball when the pack rumbled over the line. Again Murphy, who also stars as the Kerry Ladies Gaelic football goalkeeper added the two points to stretch the lead to 16 points.

It did not last long, however, as Carmela Morey responded with Blackrock’s second try of the game on 50 minutes. Good play from both teams kept the supporters entertained and Burke grabbed her second try – and UL’s fourth – when crossing the whitewash in the 63rd minute to make it 26-10 to the league champions.

Blackrock refused to give in and continued to scrap hard for scores with Niamh Griffin putting her name to their third try, which was converted by Michelle Claffey. However, time ran out on ‘Rock’s comeback and it was Bohemians who tasted the victory champagne at the final whistle – for the third time this season.

“It was a good, open game of rugby between two strong teams,” remarked UL Bohs’ John Keane. “It is great to end the season like this, winning all three competitions and losing just one match during the entire season.”

Blackrock too had positives to take from this afternoon’s performance after a season which as thrown into turmoil halfway through by a complete change of coaching personnel at Christmas.

“It was a tough game and small errors cost us those 14 points in the first half which made the difference in the end,” explained Blackrock coach Richie Marsh. “We were in the ascendancy early in the first half and again in the second, it was the middle period of the first half when they did the damage.

“UL Bohs played a smart game and their set piece was very good which they were able to utilise in terms of territory and playing the game in our half of the field. They ran hard and took advantage of some soft tackling.”

Earlier on at Dubarry Park, Tullamore, who recently won promotion to the All-Ireland League for next season, capped off a memorable year for rugby in the midlands with a 14-5 defeat of Rathdrum in the All-Ireland Plate. Ciara Dunican and Alma Egan crossed for second half tries, cancelling out Sammy McCoy’s effort for the Wicklow women which was the only score before the break.

Railway Union, who narrowly lost out to UL Bohs in the last Sunday’s Cup semi-final replay, were awarded the Shield when Old Belvedere were forced to concede the game due to a lack of players.