With two games cancelled in round five, Blackrock College took advantage to move to the top of the table as young full-back Maggie Boylan scored a hat-trick of tries against Malone.
ENERGIA WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE: Saturday, October 30
BLACKROCK COLLEGE 52 MALONE 7, Stradbrook
Scorers: Blackrock College: Tries: Michelle Claffey 2, Maggie Boylan 3, Jackie Shiels, Ciara Scanlan, Anna Potterton; Cons: Jackie Shiels 6
Malone: Try: Emma Jordan; Con: Holly Brannigan
HT: Blackrock College 31 Malone 0
Former Ireland international Jackie Shiels starred with 17 points as Blackrock ran out eight-try 52-7 winners over Malone at Stradbrook.
Moved in to out-half, Shiels had a commanding presence in a ‘Rock team missing their 15s and Sevens internationals. Another player to catch the eye was Munster’s Boylan, who continues to show her finishing ability.
Boylan claimed a trio of tries, adding to the four she recently scored against Wicklow. The Dubliners’ strong scrum laid the platform for the likes of the 20-year-old Boylan and two-try captain Michelle Claffey to convert chances.
Malone skipper Peita McAlister typified their battling spirit which was rewarded with a well-taken Emma Jordan try during the latter stages of the second half.
Blackrock quickly went about their business, Casey O’Brien breaking off a scrum and feeding the inrushing Claffey for a powerful finish from the edge of the Malone 22. Shiels converted from straight in front for 7-0.
The visitors spent some time in the ‘Rock half, out-half McAlister trying diligently to create some space for the outside backs. They did have numbers on the right but their passing let them down.
Malone kept pressing and managed to build some decent phases, the highlight being a barnstorming run by prop Chrissie McKee. Again though, they had nothing to show for plenty of endeavour.
Blackrock were much more clinical, prop Aoife Moore carrying hard up into the 22 from a quick tap. The backs soon took over, getting the ball wide for Boylan to cut in past a defender and score in the left corner.
Shiels missed the conversion just before the first water break, but she added the extras to her own try, a neat finish in between two defenders following some patient build-up play from Ben Martin’s charges.
Boylan made it 24-0 with a strong fend and burst of pace to make it over in the left corner, before nice hands from the Malone forwards saw winger Jordan darting deep into Blackrock territory.
An interception led to further frustration for the Cregagh Red Sox, who watched ‘Rock break downfield through Natasja Behan. Centre Ciara Scanlan accelerated through a gap to go in under the posts, with Shiels converting.
Turning around with a 31-point deficit, Malone made good early headway until ever-alert winger Behan turned them over in contact.
The ball was moved wide to the left wing where the speedy Boylan scampered through, cutting inside her opposite number Holly Brannigan to complete her hat-trick.
Shiels swept over the extras, and a rip in the tackle soon set the wheels in motion for ‘Rock’s next try. A lovely run from Claffey took her outside one defender and inside another as she glided in under the posts.
Shiels’ reliable right boot took it out to 45-0, but the visitors deservedly got off the mark a few minutes later. McAlister’s flat pass off a scrum sent Jordan hurtling through a couple of tackles and in under the posts.
The try was topped over with the conversion from Brannigan, but Blackrock had the final say when lock Anna Potterton crashed over from close range, following a sniping run by lively young flanker Hannah Hodges.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Maggie Boylan; Natasja Behan, Michelle Claffey (capt), Ciara Scanlan, Caoimhe O’Callaghan; Jackie Shiels, Laura Delaney; Aoife Moore, Niamh Tester, Christy Haney, Anna Potterton, Mairead Holohan, Hannah Hodges, Niamh Griffin, Casey O’Brien.
Replacements: Caoimhe Molloy, Meadhbh O’Callaghan, Valerie Power, Orla Molloy, Kate Cullen.
MALONE: Holly Brannigan; Anna Stanfield, Jill Stephens, Sophie Armstrong, Emma Jordan; Peita McAlister (capt), Rachael McIlroy; Sarah Murphy, Ashleigh Currie, Chrissie McKee, Jasmine Ward, Hannah Beattie, Aoife Cahill, Emma Taylor, Amonae Dabbs-Brown.
Replacements: Niamh McCloskey, Cara O’Neill, Laura Maybin.