Jump to main content



Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division: Round 2 Previews

Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division: Round 2 Previews

Ballincollig flyer Heather Kennedy ran in two tries during their first round win away to Galwegians ©Bernie O'Farrell

Cooke, Suttonians and last year’s beaten finalists Railway Union get their first taste of Energia All-Ireland League action this season as round 2 serves up some mouth-watering matches.


Saturday, September 23 –

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Kick-off 5pm unless stated:

OLD BELVEDERE (4th) v WICKLOW (9th), Ollie Campbell Park, 4pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Old Belvedere: L; Wicklow: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Jess Keating, Elise O’Byrne-White, Lesley Ring 5 each; Tries: Jess Keating, Elise O’Byrne-White, Lesley Ring 1 each; Wicklow: Points: Jessica Griffey 5; Tries: Jessica Griffey 1

Preview: Lisa Callan, Minonna Nunstedt and Katie Corrigan have been promoted from the Old Belvedere bench to start against Wicklow. Donard teenager Corrigan, who starred for the Ireland Under-18 Sevens team in the summer, joins Swedish international Nunstedt in a new-look centre pairing.

Following their 20-point defeat to UL Bohemians, Wicklow head coach Jason Moreton has moved captain Caoimhe Molloy to tighthead prop. Erin McConnell reverts to scrum half, and there are also starts for Robyn Johnston, who features in midfield, last week’s try scorer Jessica Griffey and Loretta Gilbert.

A first win of the All-Ireland League campaign is the prize on offer for both teams. With home advantage and buoyed by their strong showing against title holders Blackrock College, Old Belvedere should be able to gain some revenge for last season’s AIL Shield final defeat to Wicklow.

Recent League Meetings – Friday, September 24, 2021: Wicklow 0 Old Belvedere 63, Ashtown Lane; Saturday, November 12, 2022: Old Belvedere 17 Wicklow 8, Ollie Campbell Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win

BALLINCOLLIG (2nd) v SUTTONIANS (7th), Tanner Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballincollig: W; Suttonians:
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballincollig: Points: Heather Kennedy 10; Tries: Heather Kennedy 2; Suttonians: Points: -; Tries: 

Preview: Ballincollig are aiming to bring the momentum of last week’s four-try second half salvo against Galwegians into their first home game of the season. Versatile back Kelly Griffin and prop Ciara Fleming come into the starting XV, the latter packing down alongside her twin sister Aoife.

The Flemings won the Munster Under-18 Girls Cup with Carrick-Thurles in April and have promising futures ahead of them. It is a tough start for Suttonians with this weekend’s trip to Cork quickly followed by their rescheduled clash with Railway Union next Thursday night.

Fresh from ending Ulster’s win drought in the Interpros, Rachael McIlroy has linked up with Sutts and will start at scrum half. Her provincial colleague, Brenda Barr, captains the visitors from number 8. Kiwi lock Leomie Kloppers, a new addition to the squad, should make an impact.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, February 12, 2022: Ballincollig 22 Suttonians 34, Tanner Park; Saturday, November 12, 2022: Suttonians 24 Ballincollig 12, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Suttonians to win

RAILWAY UNION (6th) v COOKE (5th), Park Avenue

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Railway Union: -; Cooke: –
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Railway Union: Points: -; Tries: -; Cooke: Points: -; Tries: 

Preview: Railway Union begin life under new head coach Stephen Costelloe with a home match against Cooke. There is quite a Connacht flavour to their selected team, with Ava Ryder, Rhiann Heery, Grainne O’Loughlin, Emily Gavin and Faith Oviawe all having represented the westerners.

Amanda Morton and Harriet Ravenscroft lead the Cooke back-line, with captain Aishling O’Connell, who impressed recently for Ulster, saying: “Last year we had a lot of changes, new players and coaches. This year we are settled and there’s no more excuses. Really looking forward to a competitive year.”

Nikki Caughey and Deirdre Roberts remain key cogs in Railway’s back-line, and with Munster’s Stephane Carroll a significant threat out wide, they have the firepower, despite a long list of absentees, to make a strong start on home soil.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 27, 2021: Cooke 0 Railway Union 63, Shaw’s Bridge; Saturday, October 15, 2022: Railway Union 88 Cooke 0, Park Avenue

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Railway Union to win

UL BOHEMIANS (1st) v GALWEGIANS (8th), Annacotty

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: UL Bohemians: W; Galwegians: L
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – UL Bohemians: Points: Alana McInerney, Muirne Wall, Lily Brady, Laoise McGonagle 5 each; Tries: Alana McInerney, Muirne Wall, Lily Brady, Laoise McGonagle 1 each; Galwegians: Points: Evanna Finn, Orla Fenton 5 each; Tries: Evanna Finn, Orla Fenton 1 each

Preview: Contrasting fortunes for these teams last week. UL Bohemians shot straight to the top of the table after dispatching Wicklow in a five-tries-to-one victory. Galwegians, with Dave Clarke now in the head coach role, struggled in the second half as they fell short at home to Ballincollig.

French recruit Zorya Surguet will make her AIL debut in the ‘Wegians midfield, partnering captain Orla Dixon, while front rowers Ruth Whittle and Katherine Mahon are two of four changes up front as they come up against a powerful Bohs pack.

Vice-captain Stephanie Nunan slots back in at inside centre for the Red Robins, who have talented 19-year-old Kate Flannery at out-half this week. Brianna Heylmann joins forces with Clodagh O’Halloran at lock, and recent Munster new cap Jane Clohessy starts at blindside flanker.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Galwegians 7 UL Bohemians 43, Crowley Park; Saturday, November 19, 2022: UL Bohemians 13 Galwegians 7, Annacotty

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win