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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 1 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 1 Previews

After an ultra competitive Interprovincial campaign, another jam-packed season of Women’s All-Ireland League rugby kicks off on Saturday, writes Katie Byrne. Champions UL Bohemians will have to wait until round 2 to commence the defence of their title, with the other teams looking to steal a march on them.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 1: Saturday, September 29

Kick-off 5pm unless stated –

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Clubs are invited to post the best tries from their Women’s All-Ireland League fixtures on the club’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages using the hashtag #AILWomensTry and tag @irishrugby. The scorer of #AILWomensTry of the Month will receive a voucher for €;250 and each of the monthly winners will be entered into the #AILWomensTry of the Season competition.

ST. MARY’S v RAILWAY UNION, Templeville Road

Newly-promoted St. Mary’s will be aiming to get their season off to a positive start when they entertain high-flying Railway Union on Saturday. Eager to reaffirm their place in the top flight of Women’s rugby in Ireland, Mary’s head into their league opener on the back of some impressive form in the promotion play-offs.

Railway registered some dominant high-scoring wins last season and were unlucky to miss out on a place in the final. This season they will be targeting a top place finish by getting a head-start on old rivals and current champions, UL Bohemians.

Railway head coach John Cronin is looking forward to seeing his players back in action this weekend and noted that the squad is as competitive as ever, with ‘the gap between our firsts and seconds is as close as it’s ever been’.


Blackrock will be looking to utilise the expertise of their newly-appointed head coach Philip Doyle to its fullest. ‘Goose’, who famously led the Ireland Women’s team to Grand Slam glory and a fourth place World Cup finish, has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to the Women’s game. ‘Rock will be looking for a strong start and a season’s double over Galwegians after the points were evenly split between the two sides last season.

Leinster Under-18 captain Judy Bobbett is in line to make her All-Ireland League debut for the Dubliners, while Ali Coleman and Eimear Corri both return to the squad after lengthy spells out with injury. Bobbett and Corri were part of the Emerging Talent squad in Abbotstown last weekend.

Galwegians have welcomed several new experienced players into the fray for the coming season. Their head coach Fraser Gow, who led the Connacht U-18 Women to their first ever Interprovincial title this month, said: “The new additions to the squad have settled in really well. Nichola Fryday and Shannon Touhey will be big players for us this season after transferring from Tullamore and I know they can’t wait to get started.”


Cooke are another team under new management this year, with Wayne Kelly at the helm of the Belfast team. After a tough few weeks of pre-season training, Kelly is ‘excited to get a glimpse at what the girls offer on the field’. Ireland U-18 Sevens youngster Kelly McCormill and captain Beth Cregan are two Cooke players to watch out for as last season’s beaten finalists Old Belvedere make the trip north.

Belvedere got off to a slow start last season against Cooke, with the Ulster outfit taking the points in a runaway 35-0 victory. Head coach Josh Brown admits that the opening game can often be an adjustment period ‘with players settling into positions and various combinations’ which may not have been tried before.

Two ‘Belvo players who should be in flying form for this clash, however, are Oonagh Hynes and Ailbhe Dowling, who return after spending the summer months playing rugby in Canada.

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Gets Underway This Weekend