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Energia All-Ireland League: Women’s Division Round 9 Previews

Energia All-Ireland League: Women’s Division Round 9 Previews

Cooke forward Helen McGhee is pictured on the attack against Railway Union last Month ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The last semi-final place is up for grabs in the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division, with UL Bohemians, Galwegians and surprise packets Wicklow all still striving for a top four finish.

The remaining four clubs in contention for the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division title will contest the semi-finals on Saturday, December 3 – 1st at home to 4th, and 2nd at home to 3rd.

The IRFU recently confirmed broadcast details for the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division final next month. The game will be live on TG4 on Friday, December 9 with a kick-off time of 7.45pm.

The Conference trophy, won by Suttonians last February, is also on the line with the 5th to 8th place finishers advancing to the semi-final stage – 5th at home to 8th, and 6th at home to 7th.

The Conference final will take place at the home venue of the highest-placed club on Saturday, December 10 (kick-off 5pm).

The Women’s club season continues in the New Year with the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Cup Series, which runs in a round-robin format from January through to April’s Cup, Plate and Shield finals.


Saturday, November 19

Kick-off 3pm unless stated –

BALLINCOLLIG (8th) v COOKE (9th), Tanner Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballincollig: LLLDLLL; Cooke: LLLLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballincollig: Points: Heather Kennedy 10; Tries: Heather Kennedy 2; Cooke: Points: Stacey Sloan 10; Tries: Stacey Sloan 2

Preview: A Conference semi-final spot is the prize on offer for Ballincollig and Cooke in the basement battle at Tanner Park. Whoever finished in eighth will be away to the fifth-placed team in the play-offs.

Jayne Pennefather returns at out-half for Ballincollig along with goal-kicking lock Denise Redmond, a try scorer off the bench last week at Suttonians. Cooke head coach Colm Finnegan has made four changes in personnel.

Amanda Morton and Hannah Downey are back as Cooke’s starting half-backs, and Fiona McCaughan and Stacey Sloan both get the nod up front as the Belfast side look to reverse last January’s 22-10 defeat at the Cork venue.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Cooke 24 Ballincollig 10, Shaw’s Bridge; Saturday, January 29, 2022: Ballincollig 22 Cooke 10, Tanner Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Ballincollig to win

BLACKROCK COLLEGE (1st) v SUTTONIANS (7th), Stradbrook

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Blackrock College: WWWWWWW; Suttonians: DLWLLLW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Blackrock College: Points: Méabh Deely 44; Tries: Beibhinn Parsons 7; Suttonians: Points: Janita Kareta 15; Tries: Janita Kareta 3

Preview: Blackrock College and Railway Union are already assured of home advantage at the semi-final stage. Having returned to winning ways against Ballincollig, Suttonians are building for the defence of their Conference crown.

Portarlington RFC product Alanna Fitzpatrick steps up for her debut for Blackrock, the teenager joining captain Michelle Claffey in the centre. This is Suttonians’ first trip to Stradbrook since losing there 36-7 in December 2019.

Mya Alcorn and Hannah O’Connor make their first starts of the campaign for the hosts, with their back row to face Sutts completed by Ireland international Maeve Óg O’Leary. Ulster captain Beth Cregan switches to the hooker position.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, January 11, 2020: Suttonians 15 Blackrock College 10, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds; Saturday, October 2, 2021: Suttonians 0 Blackrock College 50, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Blackrock College to win

UL BOHEMIANS (4th) v GALWEGIANS (6th), Annacotty

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UL Bohemians: LLWLWWW; Galwegians: WDWLLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Kate Flannery 21; Tries: Clara Barrett, Clodagh O’Halloran 4 each; Galwegians: Points: Nicole Fowley 54; Tries: Laoise McGonagle 5

Preview: Bidding to hold onto fourth spot, in-form UL Bohemians have a five-point lead over Galwegians heading into the final round. Kate Sheehan and Eva McCormack come into Bohs’ tight five for this crunch clash at Annacotty.

Maelle Jouve and the five-try Laoise McGonagle will pose threats on the wings for ‘Wegians, their only other personnel change seeing key forward Fiona Scally pack down at number 8. This is the Blue Belles’ first outing since losing 16-14 at Wicklow.

‘Wegians’ last two encounters with the Red Robins ended in heavy defeats, but this should be a much tighter contest as they look to recapture their early season form. Who will be able to wield more influence from out-half – Nicole Cronin or Nicole Fowley?

Recent League Meetings – Tuesday, March 10, 2020: UL Bohemians 67 Galwegians 0, UL Arena; Saturday, October 2, 2021: Galwegians 7 UL Bohemians 43, Crowley Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win

WICKLOW (5th) v RAILWAY UNION (2nd), Ashtown Lane, 5pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Wicklow: LLDWWWL; Railway Union: WWWWWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Wicklow: Points: Beth Roberts 31; Tries: Ella Roberts, Suzanne Tyrrell, Sarah Gleeson, Jocelyn Jones, Caoimhe Molloy 2 each; Railway Union: Points: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 50; Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 10

Preview: American winger Jocelyn Jones slots back into the Wicklow starting XV for their floodlit date with defending champions Railway Union. Jason Moreton’s charges are excited to host Railway for the first time in their history.

The strong-carrying Caoimhe Molloy, who scored her second try of the season against Old Belvedere last weekend, resumes at number 8. Their scrum was a real weapon against ‘Belvo, but that is a traditional area of strength for Railway.

The Sandymount side have plenty of firepower in their pack, including the league’s top try-scoring forwards – Lindsay Peat (7) and Carmen Rodera (6). Squad rotation looks likely as they gear up for the business end of the league season.

Recent League Meeting – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Railway Union 142 Wicklow 0, Park Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Railway Union to win