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Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 13 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 13 Previews

Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 13 Previews

Former Canada international Emma Taylor continues to impress for Railway Union with seven league tries so far this season ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The four semi-finalists are confirmed in the Women’s All-Ireland League, but will there be any changes in the pecking order after the penultimate round of the regular season?

WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – ROUND 13: Sunday, March 3

Kick-off 1pm unless stated –

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 ST. MARY’S (7th), Anglesea Road

18-year-old prop Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony stole the show at Galwegians last Saturday and Old Belvedere head coach Josh Brown is anticipating another impressive showing from the teenager today. Dabanovich-O’Mahony and fellow front rower Alice O’Dowd have been instrumental in getting Belvedere ‘over the gain-line’ this season with their ability to evade defenders and their scrummaging.

Referencing Mary’s ‘experienced coach’ Stephen Costelloe, ‘Belvo are expecting to come up against a well prepared Templeogue outfit. Jet Duinmeijer, Ciara Scanlon and captain Aoife Moore have been consistent performers for Costelloe, and Mary’s will want to see out a tough season on a high.

With ‘Belvo planning ‘to play expansive rugby’ and Ulster half-back Jemma Jackson providing ‘tremendous momentum in attack’, it is set to be a fast-paced game. Ireland winger Megan Williams continues to impress in training and another strong performance could see her back in the green jersey by the end of the Six Nations.

There may have been 53 points between the sides in their October clash at Templeville Road, yet Costelloe is confident that through their ‘strength and dominance at scrum-time along with the threat in the back-line’, Mary’s will be able to ‘put some points on the board’ in their first of two away trips in the final rounds.

RAILWAY UNION (1st) v GALWEGIANS (6th), Park Avenue

Railway Union stayed top of the table last Saturday after ending Blackrock’s five-match winning run. With Railway just a point clear of defending champions UL Bohemians, head coach John Cronin is hoping to boost his squad with a number of fringe Ireland players for their final regular season game.

Galwegians almost pulled off a momentous win at home to Railway in the fourth round, but a Nikki Caughey conversion proved crucial in the Dubliners’ hard-fought 17-16 victory. ‘Wegians boss Fraser Gow is expecting ‘a reaction this weekend’ from his players who are seeking revenge for a game they ‘should have won’, along with their more recent All-Ireland Plate defeat.

Gow is confident that ‘there are areas which they can exploit’, with Fiona Farrell and Fiona Scally set to make a return for the Blue Belles. Front rowers Shirley Corcoran and Chloe Blackmore have stood out in recent weeks for Railway, and the selection process is certainly growing more difficult for Cronin with a high level of competition across his squad.

UL BOHEMIANS (2nd) v BLACKROCK (4th), University of Limerick 4G pitch

Despite being brought back to earth with a 30-0 loss to Railway, Blackrock’s impressive recent form has earned them a semi-final place. Philip Doyle’s charges are looking for ‘a marked improvement in performance’ as they travel to UL Bohemians in what is a potential pairing for the play-offs.

Hannah O’Connor admitted that ‘Rock ‘were incredibly disappointed in our out-of-character performance last weekend’, however the goal-kicking number 8 is hopefully that they can conjure up a display similar to the fourth round match. Just one try separated the teams when they met in October in an action-packed encounter which saw Bohs prevail on a 40-33 scoreline.

Recognising the threat that Blackrock pose, UL are expecting ‘a huge battle’. Captain Fiona Hayes and Kate Sheehan are two in-form Bohs players, while centre Rachel Allen and full-back Aine Staunton are geared up for a highly-contested kicking game. Blackrock welcome back Roisin Crowe, ex-Ireland international Jackie Shiels and Cork woman Amy Cotter in the back-line.

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures

Women’s All-Ireland League Table