Galwegians sent out a serious statement by running Railway Union desperately close, but Old Belvedere, Railway and title holders UL Bohemians continue to set the pace in the Women’s All-Ireland League, writes Katie Byrne.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 4: Saturday, October 27
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 16 RAILWAY UNION 17, Crowley Park
Fourth-placed Galwegians were left kicking themselves after losing a match they should have won, according to head coach Fraser Gow. Railway Union had scored 95 points in their opening two games and travelled west with a squad heavy on international experience, including half-backs Claire Keohane and Ailsa Hughes.
However, ‘Wegians drew first blood with two early penalties from number 8 Denise Redmond and her third kick had them 9-5 to the good at half-time. Centre Niamh Byrne’s unconverted try got Railway on the board, but they fell further behind when the inspirational Redmond claimed a pushover try from a dominant five-metre scrum on the hour mark.
Railway’s bench had the desired impact, particularly Siobhan McCarthy who was introduced up front, and they managed to edge ahead with crucial tries from winger Susan Vaughan and flanker Emma Taylor, the first one being converted by Byrne’s centre partner Nikki Caughey.
Try as they might, the determined Blue Belles were unable to respond despite outstanding performances from Redmond and centre Orla Dixon who, Gow said, made ‘a ridiculous amount of tackles’. The game formed part of an All-Ireland League double header involving the ‘Wegians Men’s and Women’s teams and their respective opponents from Cashel and Railway.
ST. MARY’S 0 OLD BELVEDERE 53, Templeville Road
Old Belvedere dished out a nine-try 53-0 beating to bottom side St. Mary’s to move to the top of the table. A first half hat-trick from out-half Jemma Jackson set Josh Brown’s charges on the way to their third win of the campaign.
From the kick-off at Templeville Road, Belvedere dominated possession and it took just six minutes for instrumental winger Elise O’Byrne White to run in the first of her two tries. They opened up a well-earned 27-0 lead with prop and captain Fiona O’Brien and Jackson both crossing the whitewash from a series of potent attacks.
Mary’s failed to capitalise on their spells of possession before the break, unable to find touch from penalties and fumbling the ball under pressure from a ‘Belvo defence that had also kept Blackrock scoreless in the last round. Leinster’s Emma Hooban continued to have a big influence for Mary’s up front, with their well-drilled lineout maul making encouraging ground.
Dazzling footwork from O’Byrne White and slick handling from hooker Jennie Finlay were some of the best elements of Belvedere’s dynamic play. The Mary’s defence came under further pressure and ‘Belvo boosted their points-for column considerably as O’Byrne White and O’Brien added their second tries and Nora Stapleton, off the bench, and Claire McLaughlin, on her debut, also dotted down.
BLACKROCK 33 UL BOHEMIANS 40, Stradbrook
UL Bohemians defeated Blackrock 40-33 in a classic 11-try encounter which was part of a lively All-Ireland League Men’s and Women’s double header at Stradbrook. A flying four-try start inside the opening 20 minutes was key to Bohs’ bonus point success, with the sharpshooting Niamh Briggs standing out as their player-of-the-match.
Prop and captain Fiona Hayes, full-back Eimear Considine, centre Rachel Allen-Connolly and Ireland skipper Ciara Griffin (2) all touched down to set the Red Robins up for 33-7 interval lead. Ever-impressive play-maker Michelle Claffey responded with Blackrock’s first try, aided by some sharp play from Mullingar native Ellen Taite and former international Jackie Shiels, on her debut.
Head coach Philip Doyle’s half-time words saw ‘Rock made further improvements, and they were awarded a penalty try after a high tackle from the scrambling Bohs defence had denied flanker Grace Kelly a score off the back of a scrum. But a Chloe Pearse try – the visitors’ sixth in all – had already pushed the visitors onto 40 points.
Lifting the pace, Blackrock scrum half Niamh Griffin wasted no time in firing out quick ruck ball to her team-mates. Tania Rosser made her return from injury and the excellent Claffey broke through for two more tries. A Taite effort, in the 76th minute, cut the gap to just seven points.
Indeed, Bohs, who had a vital 10-point contribution from out-half Briggs with five successful conversions, were relieved to hear the final whistle after Leinster winger Eimear Corri was denied a breakaway try in a nail-biting finish.
WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 5 FIXTURES: Sunday, November 4
Kick-off 1pm unless stated –
COOKE (6th) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd), Shaw’s Bridge
OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v GALWEGIANS (4th), Anglesea Road
RAILWAY UNION (2nd) v BLACKROCK (5th), Park Avenue
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