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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 9 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 9 Review

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 9 Review

Defending champions UL Bohemians and Railway Union are leading the race to the Women’s All-Ireland League title, locked together on 30 points each heading into the Christmas break. Galwegians were this week’s only movers, winning 22-10 at St. Mary’s to jump back into fourth place. Katie Byrne reviews the round 9 games.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 9: Saturday, December 15

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.

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ST. MARY’S 10 GALWEGIANS 22, Templeville Road

Although much-improved St. Mary’s had their moments against Galwegians, it was Fraser Gow’s ‘Wegians team who triumphed 22-10 at a wet and windy Templeville Road. Forwards Denise Redmond, Elizabeth McKeever and Fiona Scally (2) all crossed the whitewash to seal the visitors’ bonus point.

In a repeat of the sides’ second round encounter, it was Galwegians who opened the scoring with a well-finished try from number 8 Redmond. Bottom side Mary’s dug in and deservedly got on the scoreboard just before half-time, their centre Jet Duinmeijer landing a penalty goal to close the gap to 5-3.
 
With a yellow weather warning in place across much of the country, the strong wind and intermittent rain resulted in a high number of scrums. It was here that Mary’s proved strongest, their pack using the set piece to their advantage, yet ‘Wegians demonstrated their superior pace and agility in the loose.

Heather Cary’s try with 15 minutes remaining meant that a losing bonus point looked possible for Mary’s. But the Blue Belles took their try haul to four by the final whistle, as flanker Scally bagged a brace and prop McKeever deservedly got on the scoresheet.

Gow has his sights set on a fourth place finish and a shot at the semi-finals, and he was very pleased with his players’ ‘ruthlessness’ as they pushed on for the bonus point. Mary’s appear to be improving with each game, especially when you consider ‘Wegians put 53 points on them in October. Karen Plunkett, Helen Boylan and Emma Kiernan all caught the eye for the Dubliners.

UL BOHEMIANS 14 Old BELVEDERE 5, University of Limerick 4G pitch

The physicality of their back-to-back fixtures with Railway Union over the last two weeks appeared to have caught up with Old Belvedere when they went down by nine points to title rivals UL Bohemians. The hosts’ power game, accuracy and kicking made the difference as they chalked up win number six.

Pacy full-back Eimear Considine burst through to score the opening try for Bohs, with fellow Ireland international Nicole Cronin adding the second from a superbly-timed kick chase in behind the ‘Belvo defence. Player-of-the-match Niamh Briggs landed both conversions for a considerable lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Belvedere were lacking in penetration until prop Linda Djougang tore through for her sixth try of the season courtesy of a terrific run down the wing where she evaded four defenders. The missed conversion left the losing bonus point out of the reach, though, and Josh Brown’s side end 2018 in third spot, six points behind the leaders.

Despite missing out on the bonus point, ‘Belvo were boosted by the return of Ireland winger Alison Miller ten months on from her horrific ankle injury against Italy. The Laois woman made a ‘huge impact’ off the bench, and once back to full match sharpness, she could become a key player for both club and country during the second half of the season.

COOKE 0 RAILWAY UNION 7, Shaw’s Bridge

Railway Union kept pace with UL Bohemians thanks to a hard-earned 7-0 victory over Cooke in Belfast, the only try being scored by Ireland Sevens starlet Claire Boles who recently played with the Women’s Sevens Development team in Dubai.

The Cooke pack won all of their own scrums while also ‘turning Railway over on numerous occasions’, according to head coach Wayne Kelly. Ilse van Staden, an excellent scrummager, put in a standout performance in what has been a testing time for the Ireland prop following the death of her grandmother this week.

However, Cooke boss Kelly acknowledged that they ‘just couldn’t turn that dominance into points’, an aspect which they have been struggling with recently. The scoreboard reflected the improved defensive efforts of both teams, with the heavy rain making handling and building phases particularly difficult. 
 
The sole score across the entire 80 minutes came about through a excellent line break by Railway’s Emma Murphy, who offloaded for the onrushing Boles to score under the posts. Claire Keohane added the conversion. Railway were happy to come away with four important league points, while fifth-placed Cooke will need to learn to be more clinical entering 2019.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – UPCOMING FIXTURES:

Saturday, January 5:

ST. MARY’S (7th) v BLACKROCK (6th), Templeville Road, 1pm

Saturday, January 26:

Kick-off 5pm unless stated –

GALWEGIANS (4th) v BLACKROCK (6th), Crowley Park

OLD BELVEDERE (3rd) v COOKE (5th), Anglesea Road

RAILWAY UNION (2nd) v ST. MARY’S (7th), Park Avenue

Related Links –

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table