Méabh Deely was Blackrock College’s scoring star as they wrapped up the regular season of the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division with a resounding home win.
Blackrock made it eight straight victories by overwhelming Suttonians by 79 points at Stradbrook, sealing top spot and giving them plenty of momentum ahead of their home semi-final against UL Bohemians in two weeks’ time.
Featuring on the wing, Ireland starlet Deely contributed two tries and kicked seven conversions for a 24-point haul. She is now the division’s second top scorer on 68 points, just two behind fellow international Dannah O’Brien of Old Belvedere.
The other semi-final will see reigning champions Railway Union host former leaders Belvedere. The play-off winners will advance to the TG4-televised decider at Energia Park on Friday, December 9 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Blackrock fell at the final hurdle last season, but are going the right way about avenging that defeat. The overworked Sutts defence leaked hat-tricks to ‘Rock captain Michelle Claffey and number 8 Hannah O’Connor, who is back finding form after her recent return to action.
UL Bohemians will be tough opponents though, as they ended the regular season with a fifth win in six rounds. Breakaway first half tries from Alana McInerney and teenage winger Clara Barrett – with her fifth league score – set them up for a 13-10 defeat of Galwegians at Annacotty.
‘Wegians were unable to turn their pressure into points, and despite a try for the Blue Belles from Ursula Sammon, a second half penalty from captain Nicole Cronin was enough to confirm Bohs’ passage through as fourth place finishers.
Railway Union bounced back to winning ways by beating Wicklow 22-5 at Ashtown Lane. Megan Collis and Ireland internationals Aoife Doyle, Ailsa Hughes and Molly Scuffil-McCabe scored a try each for the title holders.
With prop Linda Dempsey claiming their try, it is a measure of Wicklow’s terrific progress this year that they held the league’s standard bearers to just 17 points. Last season they suffered a 142-point hammering at the hands of the same opposition.
The Conference title, won by Suttonians last season, is also up for grabs before Christmas. The semi-final line-up is Wicklow, in fifth, at home to eighth-placed Ballincollig, and Sutts are away to ‘Wegians in a repeat of last February’s final.
Ballincollig gave themselves a timely boost with a maiden win, overcoming bottom side Cooke 15-3 at Tanner Park. The visitors dug deep to lead by three points at the break through a late penalty from out-half Amanda Morton.
Nonetheless, it was Fiona Hayes’ charges who gradually seized control of the scoreboard during a rain-soaked closing 40 minutes.
Replacement Caolainn Healy crashed over on the hour mark, and fleet-footed full-back Heather Kennedy crossed from a Jayne Pennefather pass to make it 10-3 in the 68th minute.
A third unconverted try for ‘Collig settled the issue in worsening conditions, Kennedy going close out wide before replacement Laurileigh Baker’s superb surge off the back of a ruck took her over the line.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S DIVISION – ROUND 9 RESULTS:
Saturday, November 19 –
BALLINCOLLIG 15 COOKE 3, Tanner Park
Scorers: Ballincollig: Tries: Caolainn Healy, Heather Kennedy, Laurileigh Baker
Cooke: Pen: Amanda Morton
HT: Ballincollig 0 Cooke 3
BALLINCOLLIG: Heather Kennedy; Sinéad O’Reilly, Michelle O’Driscoll, Meaghan Kenny, Alison Kelly; Jayne Pennefather, Mona Fehily; Roisin Ormond, Clodagh Walsh (capt), Clare Coombes, Gillian Coombes, Denise Redmond, Eimear Perryman, Kira Fitzgerald, Tiare Siguenza.
Replacements: Annie Laffan, Orla Rea, Laurileigh Baker, Sarah O’Donovan, Caolainn Healy, Michelle Stafford, Ellen O’Keeffe.
COOKE: Teah Maguire; Tamzin Boyce, Christy Hill, Kelly McCormill, Megan Edwards; Amanda Morton, Hannah Downey; Ilse van Staden, Fiona McCaughan, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Gemma McCamley, Helen McGhee, Sadhbh McGrath, Chloe McMorran, Stacey Sloan.
Replacements: Katie McNeill, Georgia Boyce, Beth McCamley, Dolores Hughes, Lauren Pedlow.
BLACKROCK COLLEGE 79 SUTTONIANS 0, Stradbrook
Scorers: Blackrock College: Tries: Tatum Bird, Michelle Claffey 3, Hannah O’Connor 3, Méabh Deely 2, Ciara Scanlan, Maeve Liston 2, Ella Durkan; Cons: Méabh Deely 7
HT: Blackrock College 40 Suttonians 0
Replacements: Ava Fannin, Shannon Heapes, Niamh Tester, Jackie Shiels, Ciara Scanlan, Ella Durkan, Lisa Mullen.
SUTTONIANS: Sophie Gibney; Meabh O’Brien, Annie Buntine, Catherine Martin (capt), Jools Aungier; Órfhlaith Murray, Amber Redmond; Janita Kareta, Aoife Brennan, Grainne Tummon, Brenda Barr, Nicola Bolger, Casey White, Louise Catinot, Carrie O’Keeffe.
Replacements: Julia O’Connor, Mary Healy, Ciara Spencer, Aisling Layde, Lena Kibler, Moya Kiernan, Clara Sexton.
UL BOHEMIANS 13 GALWEGIANS 7, Annacotty
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Alana McInerney, Clara Barrett; Pen: Nicole Cronin
Galwegians: Try: Ursula Sammon; Con: Nicole Fowley
HT: UL Bohemians 10 Galwegians 0
UL BOHEMIANS: Aoife Corey; Clara Barrett, Alana McInerney, Kate Flannery, Laura O’Mahony; Nicole Cronin (capt), Muirne Wall; Fiona Reidy, Kate Sheehan, Eilís Cahill, Claire Bennett, Eva McCormack, Sarah Garrett, Clodagh O’Halloran, Ciara Farrell.
Replacements: Ciara O’Dwyer, Geena Behan, Nicola Sweeney, Lily Brady, Abbie Salter-Townshend, Brianna Heylmann.
GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne; Maelle Jouve, Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon, Laoise McGonagle; Nicole Fowley (capt), Mary Healy; Kiara Irwin, Elizabeth McNicholas, Jessica Loftus, Grace Browne Moran, Dearbhla Canty, Emily Gavin, Nolwenn Dubois, Fiona Scally.
Replacements: Ruby Lynch, Lea Turner, Orla Fenton, Kayla Waldron, Olivia Haverty, Sarah O’Connell.
WICKLOW 5 RAILWAY UNION 22, Ashtown Lane
Scorers: Wicklow: Try: Linda Dempsey
Railway Union: Tries: Aoife Doyle, Ailsa Hughes, Megan Collis, Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Con: Nikki Caughey
HT: Wicklow 0 Railway Union 5
WICKLOW: Ella Roberts; Jocelyn Jones, Aoibhin Stone, Sarah Gleeson, Naoise O’Reilly; Beth Roberts, Roisin Stone; Linda Dempsey, Eimear Douglas, Lauren Barry (capt), Rachel Griffey, Caitlin Griffey, Nicola Schmidt, Jessica Schmidt, Caoimhe Molloy.
Replacements: Noelle Ward, Becky Condren, Loretta Gilbert, Orla Molloy, Erin McConnell, Meagan Parkinson, Saoirse O’Reilly.
RAILWAY UNION: Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Aoife Doyle, Niamh Byrne (capt), Aoife O’Shaughnessy, Stephanie Carroll; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Grainne O’Loughlin, Chloe Blackmore, Lisa Callan, Keelin Brady, Aoife McDermott, Carmen Rodera, Molly Boyne, Emerson Allen.
Replacements: Claire Byrne, Megan Collis, Sonia McDermott, Emma Fabby, Christine Coffey, Leah Tarpey, Ava Ryder.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMI-FINALS:
Saturday, December 3 –
BLACKROCK COLLEGE (1st) v UL BOHEMIANS (4th), Stradbrook
RAILWAY UNION (2nd) v OLD BELVEDERE (3rd), Park Avenue
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS:
Saturday, December 3 –
WICKLOW (5th) v BALLINCOLLIG (8th), Ashtown Lane
GALWEGIANS (6th) v SUTTONIANS (7th), Crowley Park