There are two Women’s All-Ireland League clashes in Dublin on Saturday, and two more in Belfast and Limerick on Sunday. Railway Union are the early leaders after their stunning 76-5 demolition of Galwegians out west.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 2: September 23-24
Saturday, September 23 –
OLD BELVEDERE (7th) v GALWEGIANS (8th), Anglesea Road, 1pm
RAILWAY UNION (1st) v TULLAMORE (6th), Park Avenue, 5pm
Sunday, September 24 –
COOKE (2nd) v BLACKROCK (4th), Shaw’s Bridge, 1pm
UL BOHEMIANS (3rd) v HIGHFIELD (5th), Annacotty, 1pm
The opening weekend saw some big wins, not least Railway’s 71-point hammering of Galwegians at Crowley Park. Of the losing teams, only Highfield managed the consolation of a try-scoring bonus point.
Old Belvedere, well beaten by Cooke in round 1, are at home to Galwegians, who are now coached by Bundee Aki and Karol Collins, at Anglesea Road on Saturday. Both sides have challenged for and won silverware in recent seasons and both will be hoping to bounce back from first-up losses.
League newcomers Tullamore acquitted themselves well against defending champions UL Bohemians in week one but they face the daunting prospect of travelling to Railway Union on Saturday.
Railway ran in the tries last weekend and in a side packed with international experience in both 15s and Sevens, the Dubliners must be early season favourites for the title. Up front they can field Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney, while Nikki Caughey had her kicking boots on last week, landing eight conversions. Tullamore, who have Ireland international Nichola Fryday in their engine room, will need to be at their best to challenge.
On Sunday, Alasdair McKee’s Cooke side, who are captained by Beth Cregan, will be aiming to build on their impressive opening day victory over Belvedere when they host Blackrock. It could be the match of the weekend with both sides featuring key players.
In former Ireland winger Eliza Downey, the Belfast club have a player with pace and experience who can punish mistakes while up front, Ilse van Staden powered over for two tries against ‘Belvo. Blackrock, meanwhile, feature the strong-running and ever elusive Eimear Corri, who scored a fantastic five tries against Highfield on the opening day. It could be a cracker.
UL Bohemians opened their title defence with a 30-point defeat of a game Tullamore team, their seven-try haul including braces from Rosie Newton and captain Fiona Hayes. On Sunday, they host Highfield who can boast the likes of internationals Leah Lyons and Heather O’Brien in their pack.
Indeed, both Lyons and O’Brien got on the scoreboard as the Cork side secured a try-scoring bonus in their first outing. The title holders will be expected to build on the foundations laid in round 1 but they will have to subdue a highly-rated Highfield pack to do so.