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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 5 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 5 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 5 Previews

Railway Union, Old Belvedere, UL Bohemians and Blackrock draft in reinforcements, Galwegians look to push on, and Cooke return to action as we look forward to round 5 of the Women’s All-Ireland League. Katie Byrne previews Sunday’s 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.

COOKE (6th) v UL BOHEMIANS (3rd), Shaw’s Bridge

Following their lack of a fixture last week, Belfast side Cooke are champing at the bit to return to competitive fixtures. Their spirits were lifted by their 20-0 victory at St. Mary’s last time out, while the introduction of new signing Maeve Liston and the return of veteran Alanagh Chipperfield should be a further boost.

Looking forward to hosting defending champions UL Bohemians tomorrow, Cooke head coach Wayne Kelly admitted: “UL Bohs will be a tough task but we have trained well this week and will be ready for what they throw at us.”

Bohemians had five different try scorers in their 40-33 bonus point success away to Blackrock last weekend, however they will not all be available for selection against Cooke as there is an Ireland training camp ahead of their November Tests. Having introduced a number of new players in round 4 ahead of the international break, UL’s plan to ‘future proof’ their squad by adding depth will come into play.

In what is expected to be a forwards-dominated game, wily back rower Chloe Pearse should be a vital part of their game-plan, while the Limerick side will want to produce an improved defensive display after leaking five tries to ‘Rock.

OLD BELVEDERE (1st) v GALWEGIANS (4th), Anglesea Road

High-flying Elise O’Byrne White has been instrumental for Old Belvedere to date and they are eager to capatalise on the winger’s excellent form again tomorrow. She tops the try-scoring charts with four tries, a tally matched by her back-three colleague, impressive full-back Gemma Matthews.

Anticipating a tough battle up front, Belvedere are planning to utilise winger-turned-lock Clodagh Dunne through her direct lines of running, while they have also been focusing on their set piece during training this week. Josh Brown’s charges are conscious of allowing the Blue Belles as little possession as possible as ‘they have excellent ball retention’ and will “march forward through the drudgery’.

In a bid to curtail this, Kathryn Dane returns at scrum half for ‘Belvo and is set to join forces with fellow Ulster woman Jemma Jackson at number 10. Fraser Gow’s Galwegians will be in high spirits after an encouraging display last weekend where they led Railway Union up until the hour mark.

If they can continue this form for the full 80 minutes, and ‘match the intensity and aggression’, Gow feels they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. There are first league starts of the season on the cards for Fiona Scally and Sarah Cassidy.

Number 8 Denise Redmond, who scored all 16 points against Railway, and centre Orla Dixon are two key players who will need to be firing on all cylinders if ‘Wegians are to come away from Angelsea Road with anything.

RAILWAY UNION (2nd) v BLACKROCK (5th), Park Avenue

After their hard-fought one-point win over Galwegians last week, Railway Union will be aiming to maintain their table-topping form as they welcome fifth-placed Blackrock to Park Avenue. With a mammoth 17 players missing due to international commitments this weekend, it is going to be a tough ask for John Cronin’s side.

A number of development players have been drafted into the Railway line-up for tomorrow’s Dublin derby, including the likes of Sonja McDermott, Maggie Myles, Katelyn Faust and club stalwart and former captain Shirley Corcoran.

Blackrock are also forced to make a number of changes to the matchday squad that ran UL Bohs close in the last round. New signing Maeve Og O’Leary, the talented Tipperary teenager whose brother Shane played for Connacht, is expected to be introduced at centre. The ‘Rock midfield will be missing captain and play-maker Michelle Claffey, who has scored four tries so far.

After a slow start against the Red Robins, Philip Doyle’s side showed what they can do in the second half and will be aiming to build on that performance. They will be encouraged by the fact that Galwegians almost overcame Railway in the last round.

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 4 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures