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Captain Claffey leads the way to keep Blackrock College in the driver's seat

They were victorious in a high-quality Top Four encounter with UL Bohemians in Limerick.

Blackrock College remain on course to secure a place in the Energia Women's All-Ireland League final (file pic).
Blackrock College remain on course to secure a place in the Energia Women's All-Ireland League final (file pic).
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Energia Women’s All-Ireland League Round-Up

BLACKROCK COLLEGE CAPTAIN Michelle Claffey led by example in their 31-22 Top Four victory over UL Bohemians in Limerick.

Claffey scored two second-half tries in a high-quality encounter, which keeps Blackrock top of the table and well on course to contest next month’s Energia Women’s All-Ireland League final.

UL led early on, Eimear Considine colliding with Natasja Behan but managing to get her hands on the ball to ground it from Nicole Cronin’s well-weighted kick in behind.

Blackrock’s Meabh Deely, who had a near miss for a try, kicked smartly to pin Bohs back on their line. The pressure eventually told when hooker Emma Hooban barged over on the half-hour mark.

It was nip and tuck up to half-time, ‘Rock just edging into a 8-5 lead as Hannah O’Connor’s reliable right boot rewarded Maeve Óg O’Leary’s efforts at the breakdown.

Blackrock had the better of the third quarter, O’Connor’s counter-rucking leading to her second penalty goal and Claffey crashing over following a fine intercept run by replacement Maeve Liston.

Try number three followed in the 51st minute, Dorothy Wall looping a pass out for flanker O’Leary who showed a clean pair of heels to the cover, speeding in at the left corner to make it 21-5.

Some nice footwork off the back of a ruck allowed UL replacement Clodagh O’Halloran to pull a try back, before Offaly native Claffey scored one of the tries of the season from inside her own half.

The ‘Rock skipper jumped to intercept a Cronin pass near her own 10-metre line, shrugged off both Rachel Allen and Enya Breen and sprinted clear from halfway in superb fashion. Jackie Shiels added the conversion.

The Red Robins roared back with a scrum-inspired penalty try, but a well-struck Deely penalty had ‘Rock 14 points clear before O’Halloran’s second score – following a yellow card for Hooban – secured a bonus point for the hosts.

Railway Union moved back into second place after edging out Old Belvedere 11-10 in a titanic Dublin derby.

Lindsay Peat’s try proved the catalyst for the reigning champions, with out-half Nikki Caughey clipping over two crucial penalties to take her top-scoring season’s haul to 105 points.

The returning Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird was sprung from the bench and crashed over to make it a one-point game, but a first Top Four victory remained just out of ‘Belvo’s reach.

Suttonians won their top-of-the-table clash with Galwegians in the Conference. Play-making centre Catherine Martin and scrum-half Emily McKeown (2) starred in attack during a 26-19 bonus-point triumph.

Denise Redmond (8) Denise Redmond on the attack for Ballincollig against Cooke. Source: Voicu Duma

In-form flanker Lisa-Marie Murphy bagged a brace of tries for ‘Wegians, who drop down to third place following Ballincollig’s well-judged 22-10 success at home to Cooke.

Fiona Hayes’ side fell behind early on, but took just 43 minutes to register their bonus-point thanks to Heather Kennedy and Clare Coombes’ fourth tries of the campaign. Replacement Sinead O’Reilly and Roisin Ormond also dotted down.

Despite missing star fullback Ella Roberts, Wicklow earned their first ever AIL away win when pipping Malone 13-12 at Gibson Park. Beth Roberts’ second-half penalty was the key score, on the back of an earlier Emma Curran try.


Top Four: Round Three – Saturday, 29 January

Scorers: Railway Union: Try: Lindsay Peat; Pens: Nikki Caughey 2
Old Belvedere: Try: Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird; Con: Jemma Farrell; Pen: Jemma Farrell

RAILWAY UNION: Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Tess Feury, Niamh Byrne (capt), Aoife O’Shaughnessy, Emer O’Mahony; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Grainne O’Loughlin, Deirdre Roberts, Katie O’Dwyer, Aoife McDermott, Keelin Brady, Lindsay Peat, Emma Murphy, Molly Boyne.

Replacements: Chloe Blackmore, Amanda McQuade, Megan Collis, Sonia McDermott, Kate McCarthy, Aimee Clarke, Hazel Simmonds.

OLD BELVEDERE: Fiona Tuite; Clare Gorman, Sene Naoupu, Elise O’Byrne-White, Katelyn Faust; Jemma Farrell, Kathryn Dane; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Melissa Hayden, Clodagh Dunne, Elaine Anthony, Rachel Winters, Lesley Ring, Jenny Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Rachel Murphy, Ciara O’Dwyer, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Jennie Finlay, Niamh O’Dowd, Laura Carty, Aine Donnelly.

Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Eimear Considine, Clodagh O’Halloran 2, Penalty try; Con: Pen try con
Blackrock College: Tries: Emma Hooban, Michelle Claffey 2, Maeve Óg O’Leary; Con: Jackie Shiels; Pens: Hannah O’Connor 2, Meabh Deely

UL BOHEMIANS: Aoife Corey; Alana McInerney, Rachel Allen, Enya Breen, Eimear Considine; Nicole Cronin, Muirne Wall; Chloe Pearse (capt), Kate Sheehan, Fiona Reidy, Claire Bennett, Ciara O’Halloran, Sarah Garrett, Lily Brady, Sarah Quin.

Replacements: Geena Behan, Eilis Cahill, Caoimhe O’Neill, Clodagh O’Halloran, Louise Costello, Stephanie Nunan, Aoibhinn O’Loughlin.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Natasja Behan; Kate Cullen, Michelle Claffey (capt), Katie Fitzhenry, Meabh Deely; Jackie Shiels, Aoibheann Reilly; Laura Feely, Emma Hooban, Aoife Moore, Eimear Corri, Dorothy Wall, Aoife Wafer, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Hannah O’Connor.

Replacements: Niamh Tester, Christy Haney, Mairead Holohan, Meadbh Scally, Ali Coleman, Lisa Mullen, Maeve Liston.

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Conference: Round Three – Saturday, 29 January

Scorers: Ballincollig: Tries: Heather Kennedy, Sinead O’Reilly, Clare Coombes, Roisin Ormond; Con: Denise Redmond
Cooke: Tries: Teah Maguire, India Daley

BALLINCOLLIG: Lauren Fahey; Heather Kennedy, Jayne Pennefather, Mona Fehily, Alison Kelly; Kelly Griffin, Gemma Lane; Roisin Ormond, Clodagh Walsh (capt), Clare Coombes, Gillian Coombes, Eimear Perryman, Katelyn Fleming, Niamh O’Regan, Denise Redmond.

Replacements: Aoife Flynn, Alix Cunneen, Olivia Hay Mulvihill, Sarah O’Donovan, Kira Fitzgerald, Valerie Heffernan, Sinead O’Reilly.

COOKE: Teah Maguire; Georgia Boyce, Lucy Thompson, Kelly McCormill, Tamzin Boyce; Amanda Morton, Hannah Downey; Sorcha Mac Laimhin, Megan Simpson, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Caolinn McCormack, Naomi McCord, India Daley, Ashleigh Orchard, Helen McGhee.

Replacements: Fiona McCaughan, Alanagh van Staden, Dolores Hughes, Cara O’Kane.

MALONE 12 WICKLOW 13, Gibson Park
Scorers: Malone: Tries: Sophie Armstrong, Shirelle Wilson; Con: Ella Durkan
Wicklow: Try: Emma Curran; Con: Beth Roberts; Pens: Beth Roberts 2

MALONE: Holly Brannigan; Sophie Armstrong, Emma Jordan, Ella Durkan, Fern Wilson; Peita McAlister (capt), Shirelle Wilson; Sarah Murphy, Ashleigh Currie, Chrissie McKee, Hannah Beattie, Rebecca Smyth, Emma Taylor, Chloe McIlwaine, Lauren Maginnes.

Replacements: Cara O’Neill, Jo McMorris-Cloughley, Anna Smith, Nicole Rafferty, Jill Stephens.

WICKLOW: Meagan Parkinson; Tammy Breen, Vicky Elmes-Kinlan, Sarah Gleeson, Megan McConnell; Beth Roberts, Erin McConnell; Kathy Byrne, Noelle Ward, Lauren Barry, Jessica Schmidt, Laura Newsome, Emma Curran, Emily Ryan, Niamh Ni Dhroma.

Replacements: Niamh O’Leary, Eimear Douglas, Caitlin Griffey, Saoirse O’Reilly.

SUTTONIANS 26 GALWEGIANS 19, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
Scorers: Suttonians: Tries: Catherine Martin, Emily McKeown 2, Carrie O’Keeffe; Cons: Catherine Martin 3
Galwegians: Tries: Lisa-Marie Murphy 2, Mairéad Coyne; Cons: Emma Keane 2

SUTTONIANS: Soneva Scott; Molly Fitzgerald, Carrie O’Keeffe, Catherine Martin, Jools Aungier; Lauren Farrell McCabe (capt), Emily McKeown; Katie Grant Duggan, Aoife Brennan, Mary Healy, Grainne Tummon, Aislinn Layde, Louise Catinot, Aifric O’Brien, Ciara Farrell.

Replacements: Megan Cullen, Julia O’Connor, Julia Bauer, Katie Reel, Nicola Bolger, Catherine Galvin.

GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne (capt); Saskia Morrissey, Megan Walsh, Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon; Emma Keane, Olivia Haverty; Jessica Loftus, Nolwenn Dubois, Ellen Connolly, Fiona Scally, Celia Killilea, Grace Browne Moran, Lisa-Marie Murphy, Dearbhla Canty.

Replacements: Elizabeth McNicholas, Hannah Coen, Ruby Lynch, Faith Oviawe, Ann Marie Herward, Nicole Fowley, Ina Butler.

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