Ireland Women’s captain Ciara Griffin enjoyed a try-scoring return to the pitch in UL Bohemians’ barnstorming 46-17 win over title rivals Old Belvedere.
Griffin, who was sprung from the UL bench, played for the first time since Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Qualifier heartbreak in Parma two weeks ago.
The Kerry native burst off the back of a late scrum, absorbing a cover tackle before crashing over the try-line.
Bohs bagged eight tries in all as they moved to the top of the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League, taking advantage of the cancellation of Covid-19 affected match between round two leaders Railway Union and Malone.
Old Belvedere were missing some key players, most notably top-scoring out-half Hannah Tyrrell who was unavailable, and the loss of captain Jenny Murphy to a first-half red card was a huge setback.
The hosts’ powerful set-piece work provided the platform for a number of scores, with teenager Courtney Duhig – a real prospect at scrum half – crossing from a dominant five-metre scrum.
The Red Robins were full of running, try-scoring captain Chloe Pearse charging away down the right wing with a trademark hand-off as her side led 29-7 at the break.
Skilful out-half Nicole Cronin, who missed out on her number 10 duel with Tyrrell, also touched down in a player-of-the-match performance.
‘Belvo had their moments, taking the few chances they could create with centre Ailbhe Dowling slicing through in the 38th minute. They had two more unconverted efforts from Lesley Ring (66 minutes) and Clare Gorman (74).
Ballincollig’s impressive form since their promotion continued with a second home victory of the campaign. Fiona Hayes’ side are now just a point outside of the top four ahead of a week’s break in fixtures.
In a 31-17 bonus point success against Galwegians, ‘Collig’s 19-year-old scrum half Gemma Lane was clinical in putting away two tries. She was sharp in open play and lock Denise Redmond was the pick of the forwards before getting injured.
Front rowers Roisin Ormond and Clare Coombes claimed the other tries for the Cork outfit, while ‘Wegians’ standout back, centre Orla Dixon, ran in two of their three tries.
Facing high-ranking opposition for the third week running, Wicklow’s young guns went down 63-0 to Blackrock College. A cross-field kick from Beth Roberts found Emer Staunton but that elusive first try was foiled by Blackrock’s scramble defence.
Ireland prop Laura Feely made her ‘Rock debut in a runaway 11-try triumph. Young replacement Maggie Boylan helped herself to four, with a hat-trick for Eimear Corri and a brace from captain Michelle Claffey.
Number 8 Hannah O’Connor’s quartet of conversions took her to the top of the league’s scoring charts on 34 points. Connacht’s Nicole Carroll also kicked well for Suttonians, finishing with 13 points in their 28-12 defeat of Cooke.
It was Sutts’ first All-Ireland League win under new head coach Stephen Costelloe, and owed much to a 22-point first half salvo.
Leinster’s Emily McKeown showed her finishing skills with a brace from the right wing, and prop Julia Bauer was prominent throughout in the forward exchanges.
Cooke’s two tries were registered by in-form lock Naomi McCord, who made it three in three rounds, and Ulster skipper Beth Cregan who showed her versatility by reverting to the back row.