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UL Bohs defeat Old Belvedere in repeat of last season's women's AIL final

There were also wins for Railway Union and Galwegians.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DEFENDING WOMEN’S ALL-Ireland League champions UL Bohemians edged out Old Belvedere today in a repeat of last season’s final, while Railway Union continued their unbeaten run and Galwegians posted their first win in the second round of the new campaign.

OLD BELVEDERE 17 UL BOHEMIANS 21, Anglesea Road

The match of the weekend saw UL Bohemians travel to Anglesea Road to renew their enduring rivalry with Old Belvedere. Despite this being their seasonal opener, the Ben Martin-coached Bohs showed no signs of rustiness and were first off the mark with a Niamh Briggs penalty in the sixth minute.

The visitors took a hard-earned 13-12 into half-time with Briggs slotting over a second penalty and converting a well-worked try from number 8 Chloe Pearse. Some intricate play between the forwards and backs saw Belvedere centre Elise O’Byrne White score out wide on the half hour mark, while Linda Djougang, who played at tighthead prop, added a second try after a messy UL scrum five metres out.

The Bohs forwards seized the initiative on the resumption as young centre Enya Breen dotted down for a try off the back of a rolling maul. Some crisp passing across the back-line set up O’Byrne White for her second try, but a fiercely competitive closing quarter produced just one more score – a late penalty – as the title holders prevailed on a 21-17 scoreline.

Nora Stapleton attempts a penalty kick Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

RAILWAY UNION 32 COOKE 12, St. Michael’s College

Railway Union continued their winning start to the 2018/19 season with a 32-12 bonus point victory over Cooke at St. Michael’s College. With a number of players involved in the Ireland 15s training camp and others away on international Sevens duty in France, the match provided several fringe players with an opportunity to impress.

Railway’s Ireland scrum half Ailsa Hughes did exactly that with two tries on her return from injury. Susan Vaughan and Niamh Byrne added to Hughes’ tally for the victors, while Cooke, who can be proud of their performance against the league leaders, notched two tries of their own through Ilse van Staden and ex-international Eliza Downey.

With a front row that includes van Staden, Cooke are no easy team to overcome, particularly when it comes to the scrum. Railway’s Emer O’Mahony commented afterwards: “Cooke have probably been the most physical side in the league for the last number of years. They are a good side and we’re delighted to get the win.”

GALWEGIANS 53 ST. MARY’S 0, Crowley Park

Having scored four tries against Blackrock last week, Galwegians made further improvements in attack as they swept St. Mary’s aside in a comprehensive 53-0 success at Crowley Park. Their nine-try tally included a hat-trick from winger Emma Doyle and centre Ursula Sammon’s brace.

‘Wegians head coach Fraser Gow admitted that their defence let them down at times against ‘Rock, but this afternoon it held strong against their newly-promoted opponents. “Our defence in the last few minutes showed the players’ character. We wanted to keep them out and did,” he said after the game.

Having travelled with a depleted and inexperienced squad, St. Mary’s found themselves on the back foot early on.  With a plethora of interprovincial and international players spread throughout the various teams that make up the league, the physicality and speed of the game is undoubtedly a step above the Leinster Junior ranks which they competed in last season. 

Following today’s defeat, Mary’s are focused on improving their line-speed and fitness in order to be more competitive in the top flight. The Templeogue outfit will be frustrated that they failed to score having put the ‘Wegians defence under sustained pressure on several occasions. Emma Lackey, captain Aoife Moore and Dutch recruit Jet Duinmeijer were the pick of Mary’s players in the round 2 fixture.

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