Jump to main content


Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 10 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 10 Previews

Women's AIL Launch

2018/19 Women’s All Ireland League Launch, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 26/9/2018 Pictured (L-R) Beth Cregan (Cooke RFC), Oonagh Hynes (Old Belvedere), Aoife Moore (St. Marys College), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians), Mary Healy (Galwegians) and Daisy Earle (Railway Union) Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The race for a top four finish heats up as Galwegians, Railway Union and Blackrock aim to build on their winning streaks, while Old Belvedere, Cooke, and St. Mary’s all look to avenge recent defeats. Katie Byrne previews the round 10 action.

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 10: Saturday, January 26

Kick-off 5pm unless stated –

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

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.

OLD BELVEDERE (3rd) v COOKE (6th), Angelsea Road

With just five round remaining, third-placed Old Belvedere and Cooke, in sixth, will both be keen to bounce back after losing last time out in the league. Following a couple of thrilling Dublin derbies against Railway Union, leaders UL Bohemians proved too strong for Josh Brown’s ‘Belvo who went down 14-5 before the Christmas break.

It has not been an easy few weeks for Cooke who, like Belvedere, were knocked out of the All-Ireland Cup earlier this month. Wayne Kelly’s charges are eager to banish memories of three successive losses in December to Blackrock (twice) and Railway.

The Cooke head coach admits that they were ‘a very new team in terms of personnel and how we were trying to play’ when they hosted Belvedere back in September with the Dublin club triumphing 38-7. Despite their poor form of late, the Belfast side have an impressive three bonus point wins under their belt so far this season.

Kelly has added to his squad with the inclusion of three seconds players, prop Sophie Allen, scrum half Laura Cairns and out-half/centre Amanda Morton who have been ‘training very well and deserve an opportunity from the bench’.

In the absence of a number of players due to the upcoming Women’s Six Nations, Browne has also made a couple of alterations with former Cooke player Jemma Jackson set to switch to scrum half for ‘Belvo. They have former Ireland Sevens international Niamh Ni Dhroma eligible for selection again after being stationed abroad for the past few months with the Irish Army,

GALWEGIANS (5th) v BLACKROCK (4th), Crowley Park

Galwegians will need to be diligent in defence as they welcome an in-form Blackrock to Crowley Park. With an average haul of 27 points per game, Blackrock are the league’s second top scorers at present and pose a serious threat to the westerners’ defence.

Dynamic Connacht scrum half Mary Healy has been ruled out through injury, meaning ‘Wegians will be reliant on the distribution and play-making skills of Shannen Lane who head coach Fraser Gow admits is ‘a great option to have available’.

Speaking ahead of the match, Gow said that his charges are keen to avenge their opening day 42-22 defeat at Stradbrook where they ‘gave away some soft tries’. “Blackrock are on a good run of form but we are well prepared for the game,” he added.

With wins over Mary’s and Belvedere, along with a one-point loss to Railway, ‘Wegians certainly have the talent to test a depleted Blackrock. Philip Doyle’s ‘Rock squad head into the game without the services of captain Michelle Claffey, Jeamie Deacon and Hannah O’Connor who are all part of Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

The scoring ability of multi-talented number 8 O’Connor will certainly be missed – she has 42 points to her name so far in this season’s league. The combination of nimble scrum half Niamh Griffin and ex-Ireland international Jackie Shiels proved fruitful in the last few rounds and Blackrock are banking on another big performance from the pair.

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

With title rivals UL Bohemians not playing this weekend, John Cronin’s Railway Union have an opportunity reclaim top spot as they take on a St. Mary’s side who may still be bottom of the table but are showing visible improvements to their game each week.

Despite the one-sided 63-0 scoreline of their September encounter at Templeville Road, Cronin’s side are well briefed about the attacking threat that Mary’s captain Aoife Moore and Jet Duinmeijer pose. The Templeogue outfit ended their try-scoring drought last month, scoring seven points against Bohs and a further 10 at home to Galwegians.

Having picked up a number of injuries in the All-Ireland Cup, Mary’s are faced with yet another obstacle. Despite this setback, head coach Stephen Costelloe is confident that ‘through consistency and the resilience shown against Blackrock’, that they will be up for the task at hand.