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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 3 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 3 Review

There were hard-earned wins for Railway Union, new leaders UL Bohemians, Highfield and Galwegians in this weekend’s third round of the Women’s All-Ireland League, writes Michael Gallagher.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 3: September 30-October 1

COOKE 7 UL BOHEMIANS 27, Shaw’s Bridge

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An incredibly physical contest in Belfast on Saturday evening ended with reigning champions UL Bohemians heading home with a 27-7 win, their bonus point taking them to the top of the table.

Bohs laid the foundation for their third straight victory in the opening half when they scored four tries without reply and led 22-0 at the interval. The scores from Rachel Allen (2), Gill Bourke and Anna Caplice gave them a big lead with Edel Murphy kicking one conversion.

Cooke had been disappointing early on but came out swinging after the resumption and powerful Ireland prop Ilse van Staden crossed the whitewash with Vicky Irwin converting. That gave the hosts hope and with captain Beth Cregan leading from the front, they looked for an avenue back into contention but Bohs were having none of it.

Chloe Pearse notched a try to put them back in charge and that was the end of the scoring as the Limerick side continued their unbeaten run in impressive fashion.


Railway Union came from behind to emerge as 18-12 winners over Old Belvedere in a highly entertaining Dublin derby at Park Avenue. The hosts began impressively with captain Meg Kendal going over for a try to give them an early lead.

Belvedere replied before half-time when Clodagh Dunne crossed after a fine break from star international winger Alison Miller. The see-saw nature of the contest continued when Ireland’s Nikki Caughey landed a penalty to put John Cronin’s Railway team back in front, but there was little or nothing between the sides.

It seemed as if a decisive move had been made when Jenny Murphy, another of the internationals involved, barged over to put ‘Belvo 12-8 clear. However, Railway are a serious outfit this season and with ten minutes to play, they hit back when hard-working hooker Cliodhna Moloney got over the line. Canadian international Emma Taylor added a late try to settle the issue and maintain Railway’s impressive form – albeit that Bohs had nipped ahead of them at the summit.

TULLAMORE 15 HIGHFIELD 20, Spollanstown

A happy Highfield squad left Spollanstown this afternoon with a bonus point and their first win of the season (20-15) despite an almighty effort from the league newcomers. Conversely, Tullamore were rightly disappointed after coming close to an historic result.

Highfield were the more clinical outfit and built a 10-0 lead early in the second half. The Cork side were more productive than the hosts and despite Tullamore having a lot of possession, they were not making an impression on the scoreboard.

Highfield’s ability to build through the phases paid off early on when Linda McNamara got in for a try in the corner after ten minutes. The next score did not arrive until four minutes into the second half when the lead was doubled thanks to a Jayne Pennefather touchdown following quick hands from her team-mate.

Tullamore needed to respond and did so brilliantly. Tries arrived from Claire Cantwell and Pauline Keating, while Kim Cobbe landed one conversion to put the Co. Offaly club in front for the first time after 55 minutes.

The game was there for the taking at that stage and Highfield stepped forward to claim the spoils. A try from Ireland hooker Leah Lyons after a series of pick-and-goes settled the visitors and there was another from her international colleague Heather O’Brien out wide, getting Highfield over the finish line.

Best on the day for the victors were the hard-working Ciara O’Dwyer and Pennefather, a former Ireland Under-18 Sevens captain, while the Tullamore players and management can be very proud of their best performance since earning promotion and their first All-Ireland League point.


There was great joy in the west today when Galwegians recorded their first league victory of the season. Bundee Aki and Karol Collins’ side played with the wind in the first half and led 12-5 at half-time after tries from Ireland prop Ciara O’Connor and the tricky Edel McMahon, with Nicole Fowley landing one conversion.

Blackrock hit back just before the break when a fine kick from Hannah O’Connor created the platform for Niamh Griffin to score off the back of a well-executed rolling maul. The momentum seemed to be with the wind-assisted Dubliners in the second half, but ‘Wegians played smart rugby and consistently won the ball back when ‘Rock were in good positions.

Blackrock, who are coached by Richard McDonald and Joseph Halpin, eventually got over the whitewash for a second time when captain Michelle Claffey scored under the posts with O’Connor converting. The speedy Eimear Corri almost added to the Blackrock tally soon after but Galwegians had more in reserve.

Building for a strong finish, the Galway women were determined to win on home soil and tries from Fowley and Denise Redmond sealed the deal on a day when O’Connor, McMahon, Redmond, Laura Feely and Fowley stood out for their impact around the park.


Saturday, October 14 –

OLD BELVEDERE (4th) v TULLAMORE (8th), Anglesea Road, 5pm

Sunday, October 15 –

BLACKROCK (6th) v RAILWAY UNION (2nd), Stradbrook, 1pm

HIGHFIELD (5th) v COOKE (3rd), Woodleigh Park, 1pm

UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v GALWEGIANS (7th), Annacotty, 1pm

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table