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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 14 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 14 Previews

The final round of regular season matches in the Women’s All-Ireland League take place on Sunday, with some interesting fixtures to be decided before the top four play off for the title. Michael Gallagher brings us a full preview of round 14.


Kick-off 1pm unless stated –

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OLD BELVEDERE (3rd) v COOKE (4th), Anglesea Road

Old Belvedere host Cooke hoping to make up for a 35-0 hammering in the first game of the season back in September, before both sides head for the play-offs next Saturday. Cooke are away to table toppers UL Bohemians, while Belvedere have a south Dublin derby against Railway Union.

‘Belvo head coach Josh Brown says his squad have been looking forward to this clash with Cooke for some time. “We went up there unprepared in the first game of the season and we definitely owe them one, but they’re a fine team and we’ll have to be at our best,” he said.

“It’s great to have Sene (Naoupu) back in the squad and she will definitely make an impact and get us over the gain-line. From there, Munster’s Ellen Murphy will hope to control the game from out-half and allow us to play in the right areas of the field.”

After a few weeks away from All-Ireland League action, fourth-placed Cooke are looking forward to this battle. They are bringing a full strength pack to Dublin, and an exciting back-line with Jemma Jackson returning to scrum half and Vicky Irwin at out-half.

This half-back combination has been very successful this season with both players showing excellent handling skills, kicking ability and talent at reading the game, making them a duo to be reckoned with. Eliza Downey will start at centre, replacing the injured Claire McLaughlin.

At this stage of the season, Cooke are relying on fresh young talent moving up the ranks to come off the bench with plenty of energy. Sunday could see Caitlin Fisher, a promising young player, make her All-Ireland League debut. It promises to be a cracker.

RAILWAY UNION (2nd) v GALWEGIANS (7th), Park Avenue

Railway Union welcome Galwegians to Sandymount, knowing that a bonus point win will give them a home semi-final against Old Belvedere next Saturday. Railway, the recent All-Ireland Cup winners, have selected a strong squad in which all but 18-year-old Keelin Brady have senior representative experience.  
Ireland pair Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney are joined in the front row by the impressive and rapidly improving tighthead Katie O’Dwyer. Aoife McDermott’s remarkable development continues apace and she packs down alongside Munster’s Siobhan McCarthy. 

Canadian international Emma Taylor, Connacht captain Grainne Egan and Kate McCarthy make up a physical back row, while skipper Meg Kendal continues her return from injury and is joined in a back-line full of Ireland 15s and Sevens international talent by Emer O’Mahony, Niamh Byrne, Susan Vaughan and Larissa Muldoon.

Second-from-bottom Galwegians travel to the capital knowing that victory would secure their All-Ireland League status for next season. They have a two-point lead over Tullamore and will undoubtedly leave body and soul on the pitch in Sandymount in pursuit of the result.
 UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v TULLAMORE (8th), University of Limerick 4G pitch

Top meets bottom in this round 14 encounter by the Shannon. UL Bohemians are readying themselves for the league semi-finals next week, while bottom side Tullamore are hoping to somehow avoid relegation back to the junior ranks.

Bohs have a lot of players back from international duty and the team is looking much different than it was for the last few games. The reigning champions have been training hard and are looking forward to getting back on the pitch after a week off, determined to finish out the regular season on a high. 

Tullamore travel south knowing that victory has to be achieved if they are to have any chance of staying in the All-Ireland League. That is the toughest task in Irish rugby right now, but the Offaly women will throw everything they have at the hosts.

Tullamore head coach Colin Hughes says his charges have been in good form since their recent All-Ireland Shield success, which provided some silverware after what has been a tough year.

“We enjoy playing Bohs and we’re going down to Limerick with nothing to lose,” he said. We’ll be going all out to score tries and looking for big performances from the likes of Emer Phelan, Roisin Feighery and Shannon Touhey who have played magnificently all season.

Katie Murray is champing at the bit having returned from injury and Ciara Farrell might find herself in a brand new position, but one where she could excel. We’re really looking forward to it and will give it everything we have.”

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Results

Women’s All-Ireland League Table