Jump to main content



Ugwueru And Reidy At The Heart Of UL Bohs’ #EnergiaAIL Success

Ugwueru And Reidy At The Heart Of UL Bohs’ #EnergiaAIL Success

Chisom Ugwueru is pictured after finishing off her third try during the Energia All-Ireland League Women's Division decider at the home of Irish Rugby ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Chisom Ugwueru wrote her name into the Energia All-Ireland League record books with a terrific hat-trick of tries during UL Bohemian’s 48-38 win over Railway Union in the Women’s Division final.

The electric 21-year-old winger showed her finishing skills in a sensational player-of-the-match performance, as table toppers UL Bohs lifted the AIL trophy for the first time since 2018, and completed a hard-earned League and Cup double.

It was an historic day for Women’s rugby in Ireland. The players got the deserved opportunity to play at the Aviva Stadium for the first time in an All-Ireland League decider. It was a double header with the Men’s Division 1A final between Cork Constitution and Terenure College.

The game between UL and Railway Union was the perfect advertisement for how good Women’s club rugby can be. It was a back-and-forth encounter that produced 14 tries, and a hugely entertaining contest that proved fitting for the big occasion.

For Ugwueru, it was a day that she will never forget. Having played for Railway in the last two seasons, the move back to Limerick has seen star in attack for Bohs, play for Munster against the Barbarians, and the Clovers in the Celtic Challenge, and also make Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

“Coming back to UL Bohs has gone better than I ever could have expected,” she told IrishRugby.ie. “When I was up here in Dublin, I felt like I wasn’t giving it my all. Moving home was a massive choice I had to make, and I don’t regret it.

“I moved to a college that I was more comfortable at and moved into a rugby group that I was more familiar with. A lot of us are obviously in Munster together. Bohs is just like a family. You’ll never feel out of place in that group.”

In the aftermath of the celebrations on the pitch, Ugwueru shared a special moment with her parents, Ifeoma and Festus. They moved to Ireland 25 years ago, initially to Dublin and then settling in Ennis, Co. Clare.

“They were so happy, they were so proud of me,” acknowledged Chisom. “Obviously, they wouldn’t have grown up in the strongest rugby background, but myself and my brothers play. We have grown up with the sport.

“I could see it in their faces – they were screaming! Every time we play a match at this level, you can just see their love for the sport grow more and more. It’s really lovely to see. It means so much to me when I see them loving the sport that I love.”

The former Ireland Under-18 Sevens international had a stellar first season back with the Red Robins, scoring 17 tries across their title-winning league campaign. In the last couple of months, she has been training in the Ireland senior set-up.

Another player who has been in camp with Scott Bemand’s national side is out-half Kate Flannery, who played a crucial role in UL getting back on top in the AIL. The 20-year-old has a silky skillset, and an impressive right boot, which she used to telling effect in the final.

With her sights set on winning her first Ireland cap with a squad that secured Rugby World Cup qualification in Belfast on Saturday, Ugwueru admitted: “It feels like a double win. We’ve got our spot in the World Cup, and we’ve just won an AIL final.

“I couldn’t have asked for any more. Honestly it was tiring, but it’s a surreal feeling as well. I keep saying it, but I’m so grateful to have been involved with Ireland and this UL Bohs team here today.”

Meanwhile, the chant of ‘one more year’ could be heard shortly after long-serving UL Bohs prop Fiona Reidy had lifted the trophy alongside captain Chloe Pearse.

Former Ireland international Reidy is hanging up her boots after a much-decorated career with her beloved Bohs, winning an incredible eight All-Ireland League titles along the way.

Unfortunately for the singing players and fans, the UL and Munster stalwart, who turned 36 last month, confirmed that this is definitely the end of the road for her.

“This body has had enough now – I’ve played 18 years in the front row!”, she laughed.

“I’ve won eight AILs now, been in 10 finals, only losing two by a single score. I think this one is probably the best.”

The return of Fiona Hayes to Bohs this season has certainly brought the best out of the players. Hayes was captain of their last two All-Ireland League-winning sides in 2017 and 2018, and has now achieved the feat as head coach.

Reidy was full of praise for her close friend and coach, saying: “She’s absolutely incredible, the way she brings the younger players on. She instils belief in everyone. You could see it today, some of our younger players were amazing.”