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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 2 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 2 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 2 Previews

Defending champions UL Bohemians make their return to Women’s All-Ireland League action when they visit Old Belvedere in a repeat of last season’s final, while Galwegians, Cooke and St. Mary’s all look to bounce back with a second round win. Katie Byrne previews the three Sunday fixtures.


Kick-off 1pm 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.

GALWEGIANS (4th) v ST. MARY’S (7th), Crowley Park

The Blue Belles from the west will be aiming to build on last weekend’s opening round effort as they welcome newly-promoted St. Mary’s to Galway. The addition of Denise Redmond at number 8 this week boosts the Galwegians forwards who ‘trained well’ according to head coach Fraser Gow.
‘Wegians were outscored almost two-to-one by Blackrock in their opener, but they did come away with a losing bonus point thanks to touchdowns from Ina Butler, Sarah Jane Fox, Lisa Anglim and Laura Feely. Gow noted: “We know what we need to work on. We have made those adjustments and are going to give a full 80-minute performance on Sunday.”
St. Mary’s are another team looking to bounce back after losing in the first round of matches. The return of two interprovincial players, Munster’s Ciara Scanlan and Emma Hooban from newly-crowned champions Leinster, should bolster the squad.
Having played in the top flight of the Leinster League last season, the opening few games are providing Mary’s with the opportunity to readjust to life at All-Ireland level and they plan on ‘building throughout the year’. It promises to be a tight battle between the two teams.

OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v UL BOHEMIANS (5th), Anglesea Road

It is a repeat of last season’s league final at Angelsea Road as title holders UL Bohemians make their 2018/19 bow against Old Belvedere, who were impressive 38-7 bonus point winners at Cooke first time out.

Ireland duo Megan Williams (2) and Sene Naoupu scored three tries between them off the ‘Belvo bench, with the former finishing snappily out wide to mark her return after six months out through injury. Williams has expressed her determination to get back in the green jersey having missed out on the November squad.

The UL Boh squad has had a shake-up of sorts with the departure of several players over the summer due to retirement and emigration. However, many experienced and talented Red Robins remain and skipper Fiona Hayes, Niamh Briggs and Nicole Cronin are a key triumvirate.
Having won a remarkable 13 out of 14 league games last season, it will take a lot to overcome Bohs who now have Ben Martin as their head coach. ‘Belvo will draw confidence from the face thatt they were the only team to overcome Bohs last season, finishing as 19-0 winners at Angelsea Road last January. Will they be able to repeat that feat?

RAILWAY UNION (1st) v COOKE (6th), St. Michael’s College

Ahead of their league encounter with Cooke this weekend, Railway Union head coach John Cronin has had to make a number of changes. Three of last week’s starting back-line are on Sevens duty in France, while the Ireland 15s camp on Saturday creates an opportunity for several other players in the squad to make their mark.
Susan Vaughan, Sonja McDermott, Laura Barachetti, Claire Coombes and Ailsa Hughes have all been added to Railway’s matchday squad. Scrum half Hughes is hoping to get some game-time under her belt as she returns from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, while Coombes is in line for her first league start after a successful summer in Canada on an overseas exchange with Calgary Saints. 
Another young player who has impressed recently is Ireland Under-18 Sevens starlet Kelly McCormill, who made her league debut for Cooke last weekend. The Belfast side conceded 17 points in the opening 10 minutes against ‘Belvo, and head coach Wayne Kelly will want to see plenty more organisation and aggression in defence in round 2.

Speaking after last Saturday’s game, Kelly said that he planned to focus on ‘first-up tackling and line speed’ during training this week, which will hopefully lead to a competitive fixture in the capital. Cooke lost 36-5 when they visited Railway last season.

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 1 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures