Women’s All-Ireland League Round Eleven
Source: Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Cooke 19-15 Highfield
Railway Union RFC 41-0 Blackrock
St Mary’s 10-8 Old Belvedere
UL Bohemians 50-0 Galwegians
THE FOCUS OF the rugby gaze this weekend may have been on Rome but while the international side were grabbing a bonus point win over Italy in the Six Nations, the business of the league continued on the home front.
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Railway Union continued their charge up the table with a 41-0 defeat of Blackrock at Willow Lodge on Sunday afternoon, boosted by the return of their Sevens stars from Sydney. The combined experience of Irish and Canadian players of sevens and 15s renown brought a six try haul for Railway Union and helped them leap Galwegians into third place in the league as the hunt for the four play-off positions intensifies.
Canadian international Emma Taylor has been making her presence felt on the scoreboard of late and it was she who opened the scoring for the home team, grabbing the ball from a turnover at a scrum and running in for a try.
Kim Flood, seen here on international duty, returned to club life and grabbed two tries. Source: Dan Sheridan; ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Kim Flood showed no signs of jetlag on her return to action following Ireland’s fantastic run at the World Sevens Tournament in Sydney last week and the winger helped herself to two tries in the first half down the right wing, converting one of them.
Susan Vaughan came into the side at half-time, the centre another of those who shone for Ireland in the Sydney sun, and she too helped herself to a brace of tries, one of which was converted by Flood.
Out-half Nikki Caughey chased her own kick from inside the Railway Union half and eventually the ball found its way back to her and she dived over for the sixth and final try of the afternoon, which she converted.
“The whole team played very well today,” said Railway’s Cliodhna Moloney.
The bonus point win has Railway Union breathing down the necks of Old Belvedere, with only four points separating the sides now, after Old Belvedere’s narrow loss at the home of Dublin rivals St Mary’s on Sunday.
St Mary’s 10-8 victory has tightened up the race for survival in the bottom half of the table with them and Cooke closing in on Blackrock and Highfield above them.
Carol Staunton, seen here on provincial duty for Connacht, proved influential for her club this weekend too. Source: Tommy Dickson; ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson/INPHO
An opportunistic try from number eight, captain and rugby legend Carol Staunton off the back of an Old Belvedere line-out levelled the scores after winger Leslie Ring had given the visitors the lead thanks to her try on the right.
Áine Donnelly ensured Old Belvedere went into the dressing room at the break with an 8-5 lead thanks to her penalty.
That lasted only for 14 minutes of the second half as St Mary’s number 14 Niamh Connolly was on the end of a brilliant pass from centre Cathy Baker to score a try out wide.
“It was a good game all round,” remarked Eily Coghlan of St Mary’s. “In training during the week we heavily focussed on lineouts and scrums and to ensure we were quick off scrums and getting into their faces. I’m really proud of the girls today.”
That win coupled with a 19-15 loss up in Belfast for Highfield against Cooke sets up a mouth-watering tie between St Mary’s and the Cork side next Sunday, as Highfield attempt a last gasp run for fourth place and St Mary’s want to ensure Division One survival for next season.
Laura Guest, former Ireland international and now Highfield manager, reflected on her side’s loss to Cooke.
In Thomond Park it was business as usual for UL Bohemians who kept open the prospect of an unbeaten season with a comprehensive 50-0 win over Galwegians.
Kerry goalkeeper and Irish full-back Edel Murphy scored one try and converted five in the eight try mauling of Galwegians that helped UL Bohemians stretch their lead at the top of the table to 14 points with three games left to play in the regular season.
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