Details have been confirmed for the remaining fixtures in the Women’s Division of the Energia All-Ireland League this season.
The initial league element concluded last Saturday after nine games, with Railway Union, UL Bohemians, Blackrock College and Old Belvedere all qualifying for the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Top Four.
They will now compete in a round-robin format to determine which teams will contest the Energia All-Ireland League final.
Teams that finished fifth to 10th in the regular season (Galwegians, Suttonians, Cooke, Malone, Ballincollig and Wicklow) now play a separate round-robin for the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Conference trophy.
A season plan was issued to clubs in June with end-of-season fixtures subject to confirmation, pending the announcement of the 2022 Women’s Six Nations Championship dates.
The season plan included alternative options to avoid direct clashes with the Women’s Six Nations, which is now set to kick off on March 26, 2022.
Following discussions between participating clubs, the IRFU’s Rugby Development Department, and new Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams, it has been agreed to play the Energia All-Ireland League final on the weekend of February 26, 2022.
With the Six Nations not kicking off until a month later, it is intended that international players will be available to represent their clubs throughout January and February, up to and including the Energia All-Ireland League final.
Promotion/relegation for the newly expanded league is not due to come into effect until the 2023/24 season.
The IRFU is working with provinces to facilitate competitive games between the provincial qualifying leagues champions at the end of the season.
IRFU Women’s Development Manager Amanda Greensmith commented: “We’ve had very productive discussions with clubs throughout the year and again in recent weeks as part of a mid-season health check.
“Returning to a full season of rugby after such a long layoff has not been without its challenges, but we are all focused on getting women’s rugby finals played.
“We have been flexible in our approach throughout the pandemic and are listening to and working with clubs.
“After three years without an AIL final, we are all excited to get to the business end of the season with a solution that will work for club players and players with international aspirations alike.”
Ireland head coach McWilliams has been working with the IRFU’s Rugby Development Department to strengthen high performance links to the domestic game.
He outlined his plans for the first quarter of 2022 to all participating clubs at a recent All-Ireland League Forum. He acknowledged:
It is just so important that our international players get the opportunity to play regular, competitive rugby and the Energia All-Ireland League is a great vehicle for that.
“Players need game-time and competitive ball-in-play cycles to develop capacity to play the game with an intensity, being able to withstand worst case game scenarios.
“It’s been great to work with Anthony Eddy on the release of international players, and I’m looking forward to working with clubs to prepare our current players and provide opportunities for emerging talent to feature in the next Rugby World Cup cycle.
“Personally, I am looking forward to Energia AIL finals day, with the best players playing at the same venue, creating a showpiece we all want to see.”
2021/22 Energia Women’s All-Ireland League:
Final Standings – Regular Season:
1st: Railway Union; 2nd: UL Bohemians; 3rd: Blackrock College; 4th: Old Belvedere; 5th: Galwegians; 6th: Suttonians; 7th: Cooke; 8th: Malone; 9th: Ballincollig; 10th: Wicklow
Saturday January 8, 2022
Energia All-Ireland Cup Quarter-Finals:
Queen’s University v Galwegians; Railway Union v Blackrock College; UL Bohemians v Cooke; Wicklow v Ballincollig
Energia All-Ireland Shield Quarter-Finals:
Cavan v OLBC; Malone v Tipperary
Saturday, January 15
Energia All-Ireland League Top Four Round 1:
Blackrock College v Old Belvedere; Railway Union v UL Bohemians
Energia All-Ireland League Conference Round 1:
Cooke v Suttonians; Malone v Ballincollig; Wicklow v Galwegians
Saturday, January 22
Energia All-Ireland League Top Four Round 2:
Railway Union v Blackrock College; UL Bohemians v Old Belvedere
Energia All-Ireland League Conference Round 2:
Galwegians v Cooke; Suttonians v Malone; Wicklow v Ballincollig
Saturday, January 29
Energia All-Ireland League Top Four Round 3:
Railway Union v Old Belvedere; UL Bohemians v Blackrock College
Energia All-Ireland League Conference Round 3:
Ballincollig v Cooke; Malone v Wicklow; Suttonians v Galwegians
Saturday, February 12
Energia All-Ireland League Top Four Round 4:
Old Belvedere v Blackrock College; UL Bohemians v Railway Union
Energia All-Ireland League Conference Round 4:
Cooke v Wicklow; Galwegians v Malone; Ballincollig v Suttonians
Saturday, February 19
Energia All-Ireland League Top Four Round 5:
Blackrock College v Railway Union; Old Belvedere v UL Bohemians
Energia All-Ireland League Conference Round 5:
Galwegians v Ballincollig; Malone v Cooke; Wicklow v Suttonians
Saturday, February 26
Energia All-Ireland League Finals:
Final; 3rd-4th Place Play-Off; Conference Final; 3rd-4th Conference Play-Off; 5th-6th Conference Play-Off
Saturday, March 5
Energia All-Ireland Cup Semi-Finals:
Cup Semi-Finals; Plate Semi-Finals; Shield Semi-Finals
Sunday, March 20
Energia All-Ireland Cup Finals:
Cup Final; Plate Final; Shield Final
Full fixture details will be confirmed in due course.