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Energia Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 6 Previews

Energia Women’s All-Ireland League: Round 6 Previews

Suttonians centre Catherine Martin breaks through to score a try against Cooke in the Energia Women's All-Ireland League ©Noel Cuddy Photography

Four rounds remain in the Energia Women’s League before the mid-season split, and one of the most-anticipated games so far takes place tomorrow between the two promoted teams, Wicklow and Ballincollig.


ROUND 6: Saturday, November 6

Kick-off 5pm unless stated –

WICKLOW (10th) v BALLINCOLLIG (5th), Ashtown Lane, 3pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Wicklow: LLLW; Ballincollig: WLWLD
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Wicklow: Points: Ella Roberts, Sarah Gleeson 5 each; Tries: Ella Roberts, Sarah Gleeson 1 each; Ballincollig: Points: Roisin Ormond, Gemma Lane 10 each; Tries: Roisin Ormond, Gemma Lane 2 each

Preview: This is arguably the match of the round as Wicklow entertain fellow promoted club Ballincollig. Orla O’Neill takes over at full-back for the hosts, filling in for Ella Roberts whose form has elevated her to the Ireland squad.

Player-coach Niamh Ni Dhroma will have a key role at number 8 for Jason Moreton’s side, while Ballincollig return to action with Mona Fehily and Emma Connolly pairing up in midfield. Lauren Fahy switches to the full-back role.

‘Collig captain Clodagh Walsh returns from injury at hooker, Meaghan Kenny and Eimear Perryman form a new lock pairing, and the experienced Denise Redmond will pack down in the number 8 position.

Recent League Meetings – N/A

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballincollig to win

GALWEGIANS (6th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (1st), Crowley Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Galwegians: LLLWW; Blackrock College: LWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Galwegians: Points: Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon 15 each; Tries: Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon 3 each; Blackrock College: Points: Maggie Boylan 35; Tries: Maggie Boylan 7

Preview: Elizabeth McNicholas and Sabina Egan have been added to the Galwegians pack as they aim for their third straight victory. Faith Oviawe is on the bench again, following an explosive try-scoring cameo away to Cooke.

The Blue Belles host an equally in-form Blackrock team that pairs the Ireland-capped Michelle Claffey and Jackie Shiels together at centre. Lisa Mullen takes over from Shiels at out-half.

Ireland hooker Emma Hooban, Eimear Corri and Caoimhe Molloy are drafted into the ‘Rock pack, with former Portlaoise starlet Corri trying out a new position of second row.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 26, 2019: Galwegians 10 Blackrock College 22, Crowley Park; Saturday, October 12, 2019: Blackrock College 72 Galwegians 14, Stradbrook

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Blackrock College to win

MALONE (7th) v UL BOHEMIANS (4th), Gibson Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Malone: WLDLL; UL Bohemians: WWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Malone: Points: Sarah Murphy 15; Tries: Sarah Murphy 3; UL Bohemians: Points: Nicole Cronin 35; Tries: Stephanie Nunan, Aoife Corey 4 each

* Match cancelled – the IRFU National Competitions Committee has determined five league points and a scoreline of 28-0 will be awarded to UL Bohemians

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, October 12, 2019: Malone 0 UL Bohemians 62, Gibson Park

OLD BELVEDERE (2nd) v COOKE (9th), Ollie Campbell Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Old Belvedere: WWLWW; Cooke: LWLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Clare Gorman 35; Tries: Clare Gorman 7; Cooke: Points: Naomi McCord 15; Tries: Naomi McCord 3

Preview: Old Belvedere will be targeting a full 80-minute performance after letting their standards slip in the second half last week. Clare Gorman was kept quiet after her five-try heroics against Ballincollig.

With 13 tries between them, both Gorman and fellow winger Laura Carty will be keen to put any opportunities away in the familiar surroundings of Ollie Campbell Park.

After losing by 40 points to Galwegians, Cooke are looking for a big response. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of changes, the back-line now having Teah Maguire stationed at scrum half with Dolores Hughes at full-back.

Following a very rare start at scrum half, Ulster captain Beth Cregan reverts to the back row this week, alongside the in-form Naomi McCord, who is chasing her fourth try, and Helen McGhee.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 26, 2019: Old Belvedere 5 Cooke 0, Anglesea Road; Saturday, October 12, 2019: Old Belvedere 19 Cooke 10, Ollie Campbell Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win

RAILWAY UNION (4th) v SUTTONIANS (8th), Park Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Railway Union: WWDWD; Suttonians: LLWLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Railway Union: Points: Nikki Caughey 34; Tries: Katie Heffernan, Niamh Byrne 4 each; Suttonians: Points: Nicole Carroll, Emily McKeown 15 each; Tries: Emily McKeown 3

Preview: Reigning Energia Women’s All-Ireland League champions Railway Union are excited to get back on the field, following the cancellation of their last two fixtures due to Covid-19.

With Ireland in camp preparing for next Friday’s clash with the USA, the Railway squad includes some younger players – notably Amanda McQuade gets her first test in her new position of prop – hoping to shine in the absence of the internationals.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Suttonians, Railway’s director of rugby and head coach, John Cronin, said: “Really looking forward to playing Suttonians. They had a really good result last weekend against ‘Belvo, pretty close game, just five points in it.

“The other thing is they’ve had five games, we’ve only had three. I guess the five games will stand to them, you can’t really replicate the games in training.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had Suttonians down here. We don’t necessarily know a lot about them, because they’ve had a coaching change this year.

“We know Stephen Costelloe from his time with Mary’s. It’ll just be interesting what kind of game-plan they’ll bring and what kind of changes he will have implemented in a short time.”

Railway captain Niamh Byrne reverts to the wing, Claire Keohane and Molly Scuffil McCabe pair up at half-back, and Molly Boyne, who was part of the extended Leinster squad this season, starts at openside flanker in a much-changed pack.

As Cronin mentioned, Suttonians will have taken a lot from their 17-point comeback against Old Belvedere. Lightning-quick Leinster back Emily McKeown came off the bench to score her third try of the season.

Head coach Costelloe commented: “I think we can put a performance in against anyone, we have a quality group of players. These games against the leading clubs are tough but these are the games, as players and coaches, that you relish.

“I said before that we are in a transitional phase. In a win, draw or defeat, we achieve and learn.”

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, October 12, 2019: Suttonians 10 Railway Union 60, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Railway Union to win