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Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division: Round 6 Previews

Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division: Round 6 Previews

Wicklow captain Caoimhe Molloy is pictured in action against Old Belvedere earlier in the season ©John Crothers Sports Photography

Fiona Hayes brings her high-flying UL Bohemians back to her old club Ballincollig in round six of the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division. Elsewhere, Suttonians and reigning champions Blackrock College meet in the league’s latest Dublin derby.


Saturday, November 4 –

Kick-off 5pm unless stated:

BALLINCOLLIG (5th) v UL BOHEMIANS (1st), Tanner Park, 3pm

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Ballincollig: WLWWL; UL Bohemians: WWWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Ballincollig: Points: Michelle O’Driscoll 15; Tries: Michelle O’Driscoll 3; UL Bohemians: Points: Kate Flannery 49; Tries: Chisom Ugwueru 9

Preview: UL Bohemians resume their All-Ireland League title challenge with a Munster derby. What odds on a sixth successive bonus point win? Ballincollig will have something to say about that, especially as they limited Bohs to three tries when they last hosted them in October 2022.

‘Collig were disappointed with their defensive showing last time out against Railway Union, who ran in eight tries. Valerie Heffernan, Kelly Griffin and Eimear Perryman are their three personnel changes this week, with Michelle O’Driscoll, their top try scorer, moving to out-half.

Eilís Cahill, Eva McCormack and Clodagh O’Halloran are all promoted from the Red Robins’ bench. McCormack and O’Halloran join captain Chloe Pearse in the back row, while the backs are led again by Kate Flannery and Abbie Salter-Townshend, who have scored 64 points between them.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, December 4, 2021: UL Bohemians 64 Suttonians 5, UL Arena; Saturday, October 22, 2022: Ballincollig 7 UL Bohemians 19, Tanner Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: UL Bohemians to win

OLD BELVEDERE (3rd) v COOKE (8th), Ollie Campbell Park

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Old Belvedere: LWWW; Cooke: LLLL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Old Belvedere: Points: Jemma Farrell 28; Tries: Jess Keating, Emma Tilly 3 each; Cooke: Points: Niamh Marley 10; Tries: Niamh Marley 2

Preview: Old Belvedere have put together three bonus point wins since losing to Blackrock College in the first round. They will fancy their chances of making it four in a row at home to Cooke, who have been struggling in attack with a scoring average of just 6.5 points per game so far.

Cooke are boosted by the long-awaited return of flanker Naomi McCord, who starts for the first time since rupturing her ACL in October of last year. They can also draw encouragement from a 28-21 defeat on their last visit to Ollie Campbell Park, but that was two years ago.

Becky Irvine starts at full-back for the Belfast side, with Amanda Morton and Laura Cairns moving to out-half and inside centre respectively. Niamh O’Dowd and Ruth Campbell, who are back from Ireland’s WXV3 campaign, both feature up front for Belvedere, along with centre-turned-number 8 Jenny Murphy.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, November 6, 2021: Old Belvedere 28 Cooke 21, Ollie Campbell Park; Saturday, October 8, 2022: Cooke 0 Old Belvedere 65, Shaw’s Bridge

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Old Belvedere to win

SUTTONIANS (6th) v BLACKROCK COLLEGE (4th), JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Suttonians: WLLLW; Blackrock College: WWWL
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Suttonians: Points: Lauren Farrell McCabe, Mary Healy, Leomie Kloppers 10 each; Tries: Lauren Farrell McCabe, Mary Healy, Leomie Kloppers 2 each; Blackrock College: Points: Beth Cregan 25; Tries: Beth Cregan 5

Preview: Suttonians have unsurprisingly kept most of the team intact from their 44-0 victory over Cooke last time out. Winger Eva Finn and flanker Julia O’Connor get the nod to start this time, with Lauren Farrell McCabe, who touched down twice in Belfast, switching to out-half.

Sutts have not fared well against Blackrock College in recent encounters, shipping a couple of big losses. Title holders Blackrock make the trip across the Liffey with a point to prove following a frustrating outing against leaders UL Bohs who put five tries past them.

Beth Cregan, ‘Rock’s leading try scorer this season, returns in an experienced back row alongside Aoife Moore and captain Hannah O’Connor. There are also starts for Andrea Murphy, on the right wing, and Molly Fitzpatrick at loosehead prop. Mya Alcorn will bring impact off the bench.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Suttonians 0 Blackrock College 50, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds; Saturday, November 19, 2022: Blackrock College 79 Suttonians 0, Stradbrook

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Blackrock College to win

WICKLOW (7th) v RAILWAY UNION (2nd), Ashtown Lane

Energia All-Ireland League Season’s Form: Wicklow: LLLL; Railway Union: WWWW
Energia All-Ireland League Top Scorers – Wicklow: Points: Alannah Dixon, Eimear Douglas, Jessica Griffey, Erin McConnell, Naoise O’Reilly, Saoirse O’Reilly 5 each; Tries: Alannah Dixon, Eimear Douglas, Jessica Griffey, Erin McConnell, Naoise O’Reilly, Saoirse O’Reilly 1 each; Railway Union: Points: Nikki Caughey 38; Tries: Aimee Clarke 5

Preview: Whereas Railway Union have started the season with four straight bonus point wins, Wicklow are winless after the first five rounds. They will want to be as competitive as possible against Railway Union, especially with games against Cooke and Galwegians right around the corner.

Captain Caoimhe Molloy reverts to the front row for Jason Moreton’s charges, packing down with Eimear Douglas and Robyn Mullen. Amy O’Neill completes the pack at number 8, and Aoibhin Stone joins the O’Reilly sisters, Naoise and Saoirse, in a pacy back-three.

Aimee Clarke, the scorer of five tries to date, is redeployed by Railway head coach Stephen Costelloe to the full-back position. Deirdre Roberts switches to the loose forwards, while there are starts for Canadian recruit Maddy Aberg in the centre, and Ulster youngster Sophie Barrett in the front row.

Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 2, 2021: Railway Union 142 Wicklow 0, Park Avenue; Saturday, November 19, 2022: Wicklow 5 Railway Union 22, Ashtown Lane

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Railway Union to win