The second round of the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League throws up a novel fixture with Cooke set to host Malone in an all-Belfast clash. Cooke have led the way for Ulster teams in the division for the last number of years while Malone are new to this level.
Malone’s Head Coach Grace Davitt admits they are on a steep learning curve too after a 62-0 defeat at home to UL Bohemian in Week One. “They were very clinical,” she says.
“We are just delighted to be playing AIL and want to continue building and developing every game. We know Cooke will be a very physical team and they showed their strength against Old Belvedere last week.
“We just want to go out and put in a good performance and improve.”
Davitt was Coach at Cooke once she called time on her playing career with Ireland. Joe McTaggert was assistant to Davitt at that time but steps up to the role of Head Coach with Cooke for this season.
“Seeing two sides in the AIL competing against each other working to improve the standard of rugby in the province of Ulster? Fantastic,” says McTaggert. “That’s the significance of it for me and that’s what I’m taking away from it.”
The coaches aren’t the only ones who’ll be familiar with each other this weekend according to Cooke forward Aisling O’Connell.
“We all know each other. We’ve either played against each other in finals or played with each other. It’s going to be a big bash-up. It’s just going to be a great game. Whoever wins, I know there’s serious talent up there between the two clubs.”
The first game of the week see’s Railway Union welcome Old Belvedere to nearby Park Avenue on Thursday. A number of international players are expected to feature before they head back into camp ahead of the November campaign.
The rest of the games kick off on Sunday. Blackrock College and UL Bohemian meet each other on the back of big opening day wins. Galwegians and Suttonians will be looking to put heavy losses behind them when they face off in Crowley Park.
Thursday October 17th, 2019
Energia Women’s All-Ireland League: Railway Union v Old Belvedere, Park Avenue, 20:00.
Friday October 18th, 2019
Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Clontarf v Lansdowne, Castle Avenue, 20:00
Saturday October 19th, 2019
Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A: Ballynahinch v UCD, Ballymacarn Park, 14:30; Cork Constitution v Lansdowne, Temple Hill, 14:30; Dublin University v Garryowen, College Park, 14:30; Young Munster v UCC, Tom Clifford Park, 14:30.
Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B: City Of Armagh v Old Belvedere, Palace Grounds, 14:30; Highfield v Naas, 14:30; Malone v Banbridge, Gibson Park, 14:30; Old Wesley v St. Mary’s College, Energia Park, 14:30; Shannon v Navan, Thomond Park, 14:30.
Energia All-Ireland League Division 2A: Buccaneers v Ballymena, Dubarry Park, 14:30; Cashel v Old Crescent, Spafield, 14:30; Dolphin v Queen’s University, Irish Independent Park, 14:30; MU Barnhall v Nenagh Ormond, Parsonstown, 14:30; UL Bohemian v Rainey OB, University of Limerick North Campus, 14:30.
Energia All-Ireland League Division 2B: Ballina v Blackrock College, Heffernan Park, 14:30; Belfast Harlequins v Galway Corinthians, Deramore Park, 14:30; Dungannon v Malahide, Stevenson Park, 14:30; Galwegians v Greystones, Crowley Park, 14:30; Wanderers v Sligo, Aviva Stadium, 14:30.
Energia All-Ireland League Division 2C: Bangor v Clonmel, Upritchard Park, 14:30; City Of Derry v Omagh, Judge’s Road, 14:30; Enniscorthy v Skerries, Alcast Park, 14:30; Midleton v Bruff, Towns Park, 14:30; Tullamore v Sundays Well, Spollanstown, 14:30.
Sunday October 20th, 2019
Energia Women’s All-Ireland League: Cooke v Malone, Shawsbridge, 13:00; UL Bohemian v Blackrock College, University of Limerick North Campus, 13:00; Galwegians v Suttonians, Crowley Park, 13:30.