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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019
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Ireland's Alison Miller makes rugby return 10 months after horrific ankle injury

Defending champions UL Bohemians and Railway Union are still neck and neck at the top of the Women’s AIL.

Miller: injured in Ireland's Six Nations game against Italy (file photo).
Miller: injured in Ireland's Six Nations game against Italy (file photo).
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

UL Bohemians 14-5 Old Belvedere

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS UL Bohemians racked up their sixth win of the season with a nine-point win against title rivals Old Belvedere.

The hosts’ power game, accuracy and kicking made the difference as the physicality of back-to-back fixtures against Railway Union over the last two weeks appeared to have caught up with Belvo.

Pacy full-back Eimear Considine burst through to score the opening try for Bohs, with fellow Ireland international Nicole Cronin adding the second from a superbly-timed kick chase in behind the Belvo defence. Out-half Niamh Briggs landed both conversions for a considerable lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Belvedere were lacking in penetration until prop Linda Djougang tore through for her sixth try of the season courtesy of a terrific run down the wing where she evaded four defenders. The missed conversion left the losing bonus point out of the reach, though, and Josh Brown’s side end 2018 in third spot, six points behind the leaders.

Despite missing out on the bonus point, Belvo were boosted by the return of Ireland winger Alison Miller 10 months on from her horrific ankle injury against Italy. The Laois woman made a huge impact off the bench, and once back to full match sharpness, she could become a key player for both club and country during the second half of the season.

Cooke 0-7 Railway Union

Railway Union kept pace with UL Bohemians thanks to a hard-earned 7-0 victory over Cooke in Belfast, the only try being scored by Ireland Sevens starlet Claire Boles who recently played with the Women’s Sevens Development team in Dubai.

The sole score across the entire 80 minutes came about through an excellent line break by Railway’s Emma Murphy, who offloaded for the onrushing Boles to score under the posts. Claire Keohane added the conversion.

Ilse van Staden, an excellent scrummager, put in a standout performance for Cooke in what has been a testing time for the Ireland prop following the death of her grandmother this week. However, Cooke boss Wayne Kelly acknowledged that they just couldn’t turn that set-piece dominance into points, an aspect which they have been struggling with recently.

The scoreboard reflected the improved defensive efforts of both teams, with the heavy rain making handling and building phases particularly difficult. Railway were happy to come away with four important league points, while fifth-placed Cooke will need to learn to be more clinical entering 2019.

St Mary’s 10-22 Galwegians

Although much-improved St. Mary’s had their moments against Galwegians, it was Fraser Gow’s ‘Wegians team who triumphed 22-10 at a wet and windy Templeville Road. Forwards Denise Redmond, Elizabeth McKeever and Fiona Scally (2) all crossed the whitewash to seal the visitors’ bonus point.

In a repeat of the sides’ second round encounter, it was Galwegians who opened the scoring with a well-finished try from number 8 Redmond. Bottom side Mary’s dug in and deservedly got on the scoreboard just before half-time, their centre Jet Duinmeijer landing a penalty goal to close the gap to 5-3.
 
With a yellow weather warning in place across much of the country, the strong wind and intermittent rain resulted in a high number of scrums. It was here that Mary’s proved strongest, their pack using the set piece to their advantage, yet ‘Wegians demonstrated their superior pace and agility in the loose.

Heather Cary’s try with 15 minutes remaining meant that a losing bonus point looked possible for Mary’s. But the Blue Belles took their try haul to four by the final whistle, as flanker Scally bagged a brace and prop McKeever deservedly got her name on the scoresheet.

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