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Ugwueru Scores Stunning Try As Railway Retain Cup Title

Railway Union players celebrate with the cup 23/4/2023

Captain Niamh Byrne raises the trophy aloft as Railway Union celebrate as back-to-back Energia All-Ireland Women's Cup champions ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Railway Union ended the season with silverware as a stunning solo try from Chisom Ugwueru sealed a 28-12 Energia All-Ireland Women’s Cup final win over UL Bohemian at St. Mary’s College RFC.


Sunday, April 23 –

Scorers: Railway Union: Tries: Aoife McDermott 2, Lindsay Peat, Chisom Ugwueru; Cons: Christine Coffey 3, Dani Franada
UL Bohemian: Tries: Lily Brady 2; Cons: Kate Flannery
HT: Railway Union 14 UL Bohemian 12

20-year-old winger Ugwueru’s scintillating score from close to her own line was the knockout blow for Railway who, having lost the league decider and then topped the Cup Series table, retained the Cup title in style.

Niamh Briggs’ young UL Bohs side hit the ground running with two first-quarter maul tries from Lily Brady. Ever-influential forwards Aoife McDermott and Lindsay Peat hit back for Railway who led 14-12 at half-time.

In what was a repeat of last season’s Cup final, Larissa Muldoon’s charges used their strong bench to pull clear. McDermott strode over to complete her brace before Ugwueru hit the afterburners to devastating effect on the hour mark.

UL’s first maul opportunity of the match was spoiled by a McDermott steal, but a barnstorming drive from the edge of the Railway 22 saw young hooker Brady break through in the third minute. Kate Flannery’s right boot made it the full seven points.

An instinctive block from Peat, coupled with Dani Franada’s brave gathering of a Nikki Caughey grubber kick, had Railway quickly hunting down a reply. It duly came from Ireland lock McDermott who stepped inside Clodagh O’Halloran to score from five metres out.

Following Christine Coffey’s levelling conversion, UL got their back-three more involved in an attacking sense. It led to a lineout inside the opposition 22 and with O’Halloran securing possession in the air, another big surge sent Brady over for a 12-7 lead.

The nip-and-tuck exchanges continued with a well-won Deirdre Roberts turnover sparking some impressive phase-building from Railway. Peat powered over in the 20th minute following Megan Collis’ tapped penalty, with Coffey’s conversion nudging the title holders ahead.

Despite losing Caughey to the sin bin for a high tackle, Railway’s defence got them out of a tricky period. They sacked a maul and continued to win turnovers, with Ulster flanker Keelin Brady growing in influence.

The Dubliners managed to hold up Aoife Corey under the posts, through a combination of captain Niamh Byrne, Roberts and Stephanie Carroll. Peat also showed her ball-carrying prowess with a brilliant burst off a scrum, beating three players up past halfway.

Handling errors made it a frustrating finish to the first half to Bohs, and it was Railway who seized the initiative on the restart. Katie O’Dwyer and Molly Boyne brought impact off the bench and the pressure on the UL defence landed prop Fiona Reidy in the bin.

The Red Robins showed their resilience to force a couple of knock-ons, but Railway soon pounced for a crucial third try. Boyne snapped up turnover ball, with Peat, Brady and Emma Murphy freeing up McDermott for a terrific 25-metre run-in.

Coffey delivered the extras, opening up a nine-point advantage, and just as Bohs were building for a response, Ugwueru stung them. She certainly showcased her speed and finishing ability to watching Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams.

The Ennis flyer, capped by Munster at senior level, was sought out as defence swiftly turned to attack. She beat Rachel Allen on the outside and then handed off two more players as she nimbly sidestepped infield and blazed clear of her chasers.

Although the conversion from Franada left Bohs trailing 28-12, Eimear Considine’s return from maternity leave and full-back Corey’s evasive running out wide gave them a timely lift early in the final quarter.

The closest they came to scoring again was from out-half Flannery’s well-weighted kick to the right corner. Clara Barrett collected it but could not connect with replacement Aoibhe O’Flynn, as the covering Franada took the defensive plaudits.

TIME LINE: 3 minutes – UL Bohemian try: Lily Brady – 0-5; conversion: Kate Flannery – 0-7; 7 mins – Railway Union try: Aoife McDermott – 5-7; conversion: Christine Coffey – 7-7; 16 mins – UL Bohemian try: Lily Brady – 12-7; conversion: missed by Kate Flannery – 12-7; 20 mins – Railway Union try: Lindsay Peat – 12-12; conversion: Christine Coffey – 14-12; 26 mins – Railway Union yellow card: Nikki Caughey; Half-time – Railway Union 14 UL Bohemian 12; 46 mins – UL Bohemian yellow card: Fiona Reidy; 53 mins – Railway Union try: Aoife McDermott – 19-12; conversion: Christine Coffey – 21-12; 59 mins – Railway Union try: Chisom Ugwueru – 26-12; conversion: Dani Franada – 28-12; Full-time – Railway Union 28 UL Bohemian 12

RAILWAY UNION: Dani Franada; Stephanie Carroll, Niamh Byrne (capt), Deirdre Roberts, Chisom Ugwueru; Nikki Caughey, Christine Coffey; Grainne O’Loughlin, Chloe Blackmore, Megan Collis, Sonia McDermott, Aoife McDermott, Emma Murphy, Keelin Brady, Lindsay Peat.

Replacements: Lisa Callan, Katie O’Dwyer, Claire Byrne, Kirstie Stevenson, Carmen Rodera, Molly Boyne, Alaïs Diebold, Aoife O’Shaughnessy.

UL BOHEMIAN: Aoife Corey; Clara Barrett, Stephanie Nunan, Rachel Allen, Alana McInerney; Kate Flannery, Abbie Salter-Townshend; Fiona Reidy, Lily Brady, Eilís Cahill, Claire Bennett, Eva McCormack, Clodagh O’Halloran, Ciara Farrell, Chloe Pearse (capt).

Replacements: Ciara O’Dwyer, Geena Behan, Rebecca Reilly, Sarah Garrett, Jane Clohessy, Muirne Wall, Eimear Considine, Aoibhe O’Flynn.

Referee: Robbie McGreer (IRFU)


GALWEGIANS 25 BLACKROCK COLLEGE 19, Crowley Park, 2:30pm

Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Ursula Sammon, Mairéad Coyne, Emily Gavin, Fiona Scally; Con: Nicole Fowley; Pen: Nicole Fowley. 

Blackrock College: Tries: Eimear Corrie 2, Abby Moyles; Con: Lisa Mullen 2

HT: Galwegians 13 Blackrock College 7

GALWEGIANS: 15 Sarah O’Connell, 14 Ursula Sammon, 13 Mairéad Coyne, 12 Orla Dixon, 11 Gemma Faulkner; 10 Nicole Fowley (capt) , 9 Olivia Haverty; 1 Niamh O’Grady, 2 Hannah Coen, 3 Ellen Connolly, 4 Dearbhla Canty, , 5 Orla Fenton, 6 Mollie Starr, 7 Nolwenn Dubois, 8 Fiona Scally. Replacements: 16  Emily Gavin, 17 Jessica Loftus, 18 Ruby Lynch, 19 Nicole Curley, 20 Mary Healy, 21 Maria Gorham, 22 Laoise McGonagle, 23 Maelle Jouve.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: 15 Abby Moyles, 14 Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh, 13 Michelle Claffey, 12 Ella Durkan, 11 Alanna Fitzpatrick; 10 Lisa Mullen, 9 Maeve Liston; 1 Ava Fannin, 2 Niamh Tester, 3 Shannon Heapes, 4 Mairead Holohan, 5 Eimear Corri, 6 Ciara Scanlan, 7 Aoife Moore, 8 Beth Cregan. Replacements: 16 Laura Feely, 17 Hannah Hodges, 18 Azhria Shweiki, 19 Niamh Griffin, 20 Valerie Power, 21 Scholastique Veyssiere, 22 Keely Doonan.


WICKLOW 18 OLD BELVEDERE 17, Ashtown Lane, 2:30pm

Scorers: Wicklow: Roisin Stone, Aoibhin Stone; Con: Beth Roberts; Pen: Beth Roberts 2

Old Belvedere: Tries: Elise O’Byrne-White 2, Emma Kelly; Con: Jemma Farrell

HT: Wicklow 0 Old Belvedere 10

WICKLOW: 15 Ella Roberts, 14 Naoise O’Reilly, 13 Aoibhin Stone, 12 Roisin Stone, 11 Meagan Parkinson; 10 Beth Roberts, 9 Erin McConnell (capt), 1 Linda Dempsey, 2 Eimear Douglas, 3 Lauren Barry, 4 Leah Murphy, 5 Jessica Schmidt, 6 Ciara O’Leary, 7 Nicola Schmidt, 8  Caoimhe Molloy. Replacements:  16 Noelle Ward, 17 Jessica Griffey, 18 Laura Newsome, 19 Loretta Gilbert, 20 Sarah Gleeson, 21 Megan McConnell, 22 Holly McSorley . 21 Nicole Humby.

OLD BELVEDERE: 15 Aine Donnelly, 14 Elise O’Byrne-White, 13 Minnona Nunstedt, 12 Emma Kelly, 11 Clare Gorman; 10 Jemma Farrell, 9 Katie Whelan; 1 Hannah Wilson, 2 Jessica Keating, 3 Katie Layde, 4 Fiona Tuite, 5 Emma Buckley,6 Orlaith McAuliffe, 7 Eadaoin Murtagh, 8 Lesley Ring. Replacements: 16 Aisya Azali, 17 Melissa Hayden, 18 Caoimhe Guinan, 19 Áine Nangle, 20 Jane Neill, 21 Jade Gaffney, 22 Grace Tutty., 23 Emma Tilly.