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Seven-Try UL Bohs On Song Against Suttonians

Seven-Try UL Bohs On Song Against Suttonians

Front rower Geena Behan was part of the UL Bohemians squad that led from start to finish against Suttonians ©INPHO/James Crombie

Vice-captain Nicole Cronin made her injury comeback in UL Bohemians’ 43-5 bonus point triumph over Suttonians, a game that was moved from the UL Arena to Castletroy College.


UL BOHEMIANS 43 SUTTONIANS 5, Castletroy College
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Clodagh O’Halloran 2, Claire Bennett, Laura O’Mahony, Clara Barrett 2, Rachel Allen; Cons: Nicole Cronin, Kate Flannery 3
Suttonians: Try: Grainne Tummon
HT: UL Bohemians 17 Suttonians 0

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UL Bohemians, who had two tries each from Clodagh O’Halloran and teenage winger Clara Barrett, boosted their semi-final hopes with fourth-placed Wicklow now just three points ahead of them.

It was Suttonians’ fourth defeat in six games and leaves them hoping to bounce back at home to Ballincollig in next week’s penultimate round of the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division.

Cronin was central to UL’s strong start, setting Laura O’Mahony through a gap and running a support line to quickly push Suttonians back into their own half. Bohs had the backing of the wind first up.

The visitors hit back with good work in contact from Louise Catinot to wrestle back possession, and a couple of strong runs from captain Catherine Martin and Roisin O’Driscoll showed what Suttonians could do in attack.

This seventh round encounter was being played at a frantic pace, O’Halloran forcing a turnover and then Sutts out-half Órfhlaith Murray doing likewise just moments later as both teams scrapped furiously for possession.

The breakthrough came in the eighth minute, Cronin kicking Bohs up the right touchline from a penalty and young lock Rebecca Reilly driving up close off the lineout. O’Halloran was a step ahead of the defence, diving over from the ruck to score.

Cronin’s well-struck conversion made it the full seven points, and when UL came hunting for a quick-fire second try, Sutts needed Martin and Sophie Gibney to react sharply to hold up Claire Bennett past the try-line.

Stephen Costelloe’s charges were not far off clicking in attack themselves, a nice link-up between Martin and Carrie O’Keeffe had the number 8 racing past halfway. A knock-on at the next phase stopped them in their tracks.

The UL pack pressed again from a lineout and a scrum near the right corner, Sutts defending doggedly to force a knock-on from Reilly as she threatened to score.

However, Suttonians prop Julia Bauer saw yellow after being offside at a quickly-taken penalty from Muirne Wall. UL needed no second invitation and put two more tries on the board in the 23rd and 26th minutes.

The UL forwards hammered away with lock Bennett eventually rewarded for a close range five-pointer. The increasingly-influential Cronin dropped the conversion short at 12-0.

Bennett’s powerful break out of her own 22 immediately put Bohs back on the attack again. Nice hands out to the right then released Ireland Under-18 international Barrett on a pacy burst.

The home forwards gained ground close to the posts, through back rowers Ciara Farrell and O’Halloran, and Cronin’s skip pass gave winger O’Mahony the time and space to score past Martin and make it 17-0.

Annie Buntine’s ball-dislodging tackle on Farrell sparked a good spell for Sutts. Janita Kareta and replacement Mary Healy got them over the gain-line and up into the 22 until Cronin pinched possession from Grainne Tummon.

Suttonians suffered another setback just minutes into the second period, with centre Meabh O’Brien sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. Their own handling errors also hampered their progress up the field.

In response, UL’s backs got moving off a scrum with the returning Rachel Allen, Alana McInerney and Kate Flannery combining to good effect. They got the ball out to Aoife Corey who sent Barrett speeding over for the bonus point try.

Despite the best efforts of Martin and Healy, Suttonians’ execution was letting them down. Bohs continued to create opportunities, getting the ball wide for their lively back-three to cause some damage.

From a close-in 62nd-minute lineout, Reilly and replacement Ciara O’Dwyer chipped away at the visitors’ defence before Allen used a pinpoint pass from Wall to slip past Shannon Touhey and touch down under the posts.

Following Flannery’s conversion, Suttonians marched forward courtesy of two penalties, including one at the breakdown from the industrious Kareta. A bout of hard carrying ended with lock Tummon piling over to close the gap to 29-5.

A Barrett interception brought the Red Robins swiftly back into scoring range, Healy infringing near her own line but then replacement Brenda Barr led a swarming defence that stole possession back from an outnumbered Barrett.

Sutts, though, were unable to find touch with their clearance kick. O’Mahony cut in from her left wing, before Bohs capitalised on numbers on the right where the hard-working Barrett deservedly completed her brace. Flannery converted.

Niamh Briggs’ side saved the best for last, replacement Lily Brady haring past halfway from the restart. O’Halloran was up in support and had the speed and strength to make it in under the posts despite Gibney’s despairing tackle.

Flannery tagged on her third conversion of the afternoon, and a disappointing outing for Suttonians was compounded by a late injury picked up by prop Healy which prompted the final whistle.

UL BOHEMIANS: Aoife Corey; Clara Barrett, Alana McInerney, Kate Flannery, Laura O’Mahony; Nicole Cronin (capt), Muirne Wall; Fiona Reidy, Kate Sheehan, Eilis Cahill, Rebecca Reilly, Claire Bennett, Sarah Garrett, Clodagh O’Halloran, Ciara Farrell.

Replacements: Ciara O’Dwyer, Geena Behan, Nicola Sweeney, Lily Brady, Abbie Salter-Townsend, Rachel Allen, Brianna Heylmann.

SUTTONIANS: Sophie Gibney; Annie Buntine, Meabh O’Brien, Catherine Martin (capt), Lena Kibler; Órfhlaith Murray, Amber Redmond; Janita Kareta, Julia O’Connor, Julia Bauer, Roisin O’Driscoll, Grainne Tummon, Louise Catinot, Casey White, Carrie O’Keeffe.

Replacements: Aoife Brennan, Nicola Bolger, Mary Healy, Brenda Barr, Jools Aungier, Clara Sexton, Shannon Touhey.