It did not take long for Philip ‘Goose’ Doyle’s magic to rub off on an invigorated Blackrock side as they overcame Galwegians 42-22 in their Women’s All-Ireland League opener at Stradbrook on Saturday. Katie Byrne rounds up the first round action.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 1: Saturday, September 29
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.
BLACKROCK 42 GALWEGIANS 22, Stradbrook
While Galwegians took the lead with Lisa Anglim’s sensational breakaway try against the run of play, the two teams were evenly matched, returning score after score up until half-time in the second match of a unique men’s and women’s All-Ireland League double header between the clubs.
Blackrock captain Michelle Claffey displaying her jinking footwork in the number 10 jersey, while league newcomers Laura Delaney and Caoimhe Molloy both touched down – Delaney ran in a terrific intercept score from inside her own 22 – as Doyle’s first match in charge of ‘Rock ended in a bonus point success.
Despite the scoreline, Galwegians head coach Fraser Gow was reasonably happy with his side’s overall performance, particularly the well-deserved try-scoring bonus point, saying that ‘at least we took something from a tough away match’.
ST. MARY’S 0 RAILWAY UNION 63, Templeville Road
There was no fairytale return to the top tier of Women’s club rugby for St. Mary’s as they fell to a 63-0 opening defeat to an ever-impressive Railway Union team at Templeville Road.
“Our coaches place a huge emphasis on core skills,” explained Railway winger Emer O’Mahony, and this certainly showed as they started their season with a convincing 11-try win. The sheer pace of the game proved to be a problem for Mary’s from early on, with seven of the 11 tries scored by the Railway back-line.
Railway had nine different try scorers with braces from Stephanie Carroll and Niamh Byrne, along with singles from O’Mahony, Larissa Muldoon, Garazi Goikolea, Melissa Slevin, Juliet Short, Aoife McDermott and Emma Taylor. Railway head coach John Cronin said it was not as one-sided as some might suspect, with Mary’s growing into the game. “Mary’s will certainly grow into the league with each game they play,” he said.
COOKE 7 OLD BELVEDERE 38, Shaw’s Bridge
Old Belvedere blew away the early season cobwebs with a well-judged 38-7 bonus point victory over Cooke at Shaw’s Bridge. It was a frustrating afternoon for the Belfast girls whose new head coach Wayne Kelly admitted that their ‘line-speed and first-up tackles’ need to improve.
Belvedere’s lynchpin out-half Nora Stapleton showed her play-making ability for the visitors, moving the ball around the pitch with confidence. The ‘Belvo backs cut loose with Gemma Matthews, Fiona Tuite and Grace Miller all crossing the whitewash inside the opening 10 minutes, and international duo Sene Naoupu and Megan Williams (2) added three more tries off the bench.
Cooke showed plenty of promise however, with Ireland Under-18 Sevens starlet Kelly McCormill putting a big shift in at centre, along with some strong scrummaging from their Ilse van Staden-propelled pack. Hannah Kilgore scored the hosts’ try before the interval.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 2 FIXTURES: Sunday, October 7
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
GALWEGIANS (4th) v ST. MARY’S (7th), Crowley Park
OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (5th), Anglesea Road
RAILWAY UNION (1st) v COOKE (6th), Park Avenue
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