Suttonians scored the only try of the second half, through Australian prop Janita Kareta on her first start, as they got the better of Cooke on a 15-7 scoreline at Shaw’s Bridge.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S DIVISION: Friday, September 30
COOKE 7 SUTTONIANS 15, Shaw’s Bridge (rescheduled match from round 1)
Scorers: Cooke: Try: Ilse van Staden; Con: Amanda Morton
Suttonians: Tries: Emma Jordan, Janita Kareta; Con: Órfhlaith Murray; Pen: Catherine Martin
HT: Cooke 7 Suttonians 7
Cooke took a 12th-minute lead when former Ireland prop Ilse van Staden powered over from 30 metres out. It was level-pegging at half-time, with replacement Emma Jordan hitting back for Suttonians.
In wet and windy conditions, Órfhlaith Murray’s penalty nearing the hour mark gave Sutts a 10-7 lead. Kareta wrapped up the result with a hard-earned try, six minutes from the end.
The first ‘Friday Night Lights’ match of the Women’s season saw Suttonians venture north to face Cooke, with both sides chasing their first win of the new Energia All-Ireland League campaign.
Sutts beat an early path towards the try-line, captain Catherine Martin breaking up into the 22 and Cooke had to scramble to hold up Mary Healy near the left corner for a goal-line dropout.
Cooke skipper Aishling O’Connell dug in at the breakdown to win a clearing penalty, and while the hosts were missing Ashleigh Orchard and Dolores Hughes, centre Kelly McCormill lifted them with a terrific break past halfway.
Sutts lock Brenda Barr then saw yellow for not being back ten metres at a quickly-taken Cooke penalty. The hosts were held scoreless from their first opportunity which saw Claire Johnston stopped short near the left corner.
The Dubliners also did well to hold up Helen McGhee over the try-line, but van Staden used turnover ball to dummy and then burst through a gap for a smashing solo score, converted by Amanda Morton.
Cooke were not long in pressing for a second try, aided by some smart kicking from Morton. Winger Johnston and van Staden both went close, but Suttonians denied them from close range.
Stephen Costelloe’s side began to turn the screw during the second quarter, with Emily McKeown and Clara Sexton showing their pace out wide. McKeown stepped in at scrum half as Sutts continued to gain ground.
That elusive first try arrived as the rain pelted down during a very heavy shower. The visitors put boot to ball, Teah Maguire knocked it on near the Cooke line and then inadvertently kicked into the arms of Jordan who dived over to score.
Murray’s well-struck conversion, into a difficult wind, brought the sides level at seven points apiece. Jordan increased her influence with a brilliant run back into the Cooke 22, only for van Staden to win a relieving penalty.
Although handling errors blighted the start of the second half, Suttonians’ impressive scrum allowed number 8 Shannon Touhey to break from deep and combine neatly with McKeown who reached Cooke’s 10-metre line.
Sutts maintained their presence in the Cooke half, drawing a central penalty which Martin landed to put them in front for the first time.
Colm Finnegan’s charges tried to claw back territory from a penalty, but their lineout misfired. A kick through from Touhey caused trouble for the home defence and Sutts hunted down the decisive try.
Healy lost the ball forward, under pressure from van Staden and O’Connell right on the Cooke line. It was fellow prop Kareta who turned the pressure into points, barging over from a ruck near the left corner.
A late surge from Cooke deserved something, at least to give them a losing bonus point. Gemma McCamley was hauled down from her own promising break, though, and van Staden dropped a pass following a quick tap.
Last season’s Conference champions stood firm with Annie Buntine’s turnover, and a weaving run and kick from Touhey, ensuring that they ended the game in Cooke territory.
COOKE: Teah Maguire; Tamzin Boyce, Christy Hill, Kelly McCormill, Claire Johnston; Amanda Morton, Hannah Downey; Ilse van Staden, Megan Simpson, Fiona McCaughan, Naomi McCord, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Stacey Sloan, Gemma McCamley, Helen McGhee.
Replacements: Eimear McQuillan, Emma Kearney, Katie McNeill, Katie Hetherington, Katie Kerr, Claire McGowan, Georgia Boyce.
SUTTONIANS: Emily McKeown, Clara Sexton, Annie Buntine, Catherine Martin (capt), Jools Aungier; Órfhlaith Murray, Lena Kibler; Janita Kareta, Aoife Brennan, Mary Healy, Brenda Barr, Grainne Tummon, Louise Catinot, Roisin O’Driscoll, Shannon Touhey.
Replacements: Julia O’Connor, Nicola Bolger, Ciara Spencer, Leah Hartigan, Shannen Price, Moya Kernan, Emma Jordan.