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Energia Women’s All Ireland Cup: Round 1 Review

Energia Women’s All Ireland Cup: Round 1 Review

Ella Durkan in action for Malone. ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Saturday October 5th, 2019

Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup – Round 1

City of Derry 0 Old Belvedere 50

Galwegians 21 Tullamore 39

Shannon 10 Malone 68

Westport 12 Cooke 49

Tullow 0 Railway Union 31

Suttonians W – W Tralee

Last year’s AIL league champions, Railway Union travelled to Leinster’s provincial Paul Flood Cup champions, Tullow in the hopes of kick starting their bid for the double in 2020.

Despite some notable changes to the starting line-up from last season’s league decider in Energia Park, with coach John Cronin fielding a total of 11 players under the age of 22, the young side were worthy winners on a score line of 31-0.

Keelin Brady (2), Niamh Byrne, Lisa Callan and Christine Coffey crossed the whitewash for the Dubliners, with Katelyn Faust adding three conversions. Despite a strong start, Tullow failed to make inroads where it really mattered, as they saw three try scoring opportunities go amiss.

Captain Anne Marie Fitzgerald, along with Ciara O’Dwyer and Sarah Rennick impressed for the Carlow contingent who are left to rue their chances.

Meanwhile in Ulster, City of Derry struggled to contain Old Belvedere, who ran rampant, notching up 50 points in the process.

Ex Irish international Alison Miller was back in flying form as she crossed over for five of Belvo’s eight tries. Clodagh Dunne, Franzi Klapporth and Fiona Tuite adding to the Connacht winger’s tally.

There was also a welcome return to action for out-half Aine Donnelly, who slotted five conversions between the posts to hand the Angelsea Road side a ticket to the second round.

In a surprising turn of events, Galwegian’s fell at the hands of Tullamore, despite home advantage. Nicole Fowley was central to the Blue Belles’ cause with two tries and three conversions, in addition to a single try from Julie Lyons, but ultimately defensive lapses proved costly.

With Dave Hanlon at the helm, the Tulliers utilized the experience of their Connacht caps, Sinead Rigney and Katie Murray to open their scoring. A hatrick of tries from Orla Fox, along with a brace from Claire Leonard and two conversions from U18 Leinster playmaker, Emma Kelly was more than enough to overcome the 21 points of ‘Wegians.

Elsewhere in Connacht, there wasn’t much joy for the home side Westport, as Joe McTaggart‘s Cooke implemented a “very expansive and accurate game plan”, which handed them a 49-12 victory. Tries from Beth Cregan (3), Eliza Downey, Hannah Kilgore (2) and Dolores Hughes, along with a 100% kicking record for Vicky Irwin, who successfully converted 7/7 attempts at goal, impressed the head coach. It wasn’t a walk in the park for the Ulster side however, with McTaggart admitting “Westport are a great and ambitious side, who punished us for the mistakes we did make”.

In the final fixture, Malone lay down a serious statement of intent as they recorded the highest score of the weekend against Shannon, 10-68. Malone join Suttonian’s in the AIL this season and they certainly showed no signs of complacency as they went head to head with the Limerick outfit.

With a dozen tries to their name through Holly Branigan (4), Jasmine Ward (2), Ella Durkan, Jill Stephens, Ollie Andrews (2), Chloe McIlwaine and Alexa Grudgings, there’s certainly no white line fever in the camp ahead of their AIL league debut.

A consolation five points from the boot of Ciara Clancy in the form of a conversion and penalty, along with a try from Sarah O’Connor meant Shannon’s efforts were not in vain.

Blackrock College and UL Bohemians were handed a bye for the first round of the competition.

AIL newcomers, Suttonians received a walkover from Tralee.