UL Bohs showed just why they're the defending AIL champions today

Here’s what happened in the Women’s AIL earlier.

UL Bohs are flying high at the moment.
UL Bohs are flying high at the moment.
Image: Ben Whitley/INPHO

UL Bohemians 62

Blackrock 5

DEFENDING WOMEN’S ALL-IRELAND league champions Bohemians showed why they are so highly-rated with a comprehensive 62-5 win over Blackrock at Annacotty this afternoon.

Bohemians ran in ten tries over the course of the game and gave Blackrock little room in which to operate in or build phases. Bohs started the game in explosive fashion and were soon out of sight as ‘Rock only found their rhythm in the second period.

The home side ran in tries from all angles and distances with Laura Sheehan, Helen McDermott and Edel Murphy all crossing the whitewash on two occasions, while Chloe Pearse, Niamh Kavanagh, Aine Staunton and Syphonia Pua grabbed one apiece.

Blackrock were much better in the second half and worked very hard defensively against the rampant hosts. The gallant visitors got their just desserts late in the match with a very well-worked team try scored by Alix Doyle in the right corner.

Blackrock forwards coach Joe Halpin was disappointed with result but buoyed by the application of the players in the second half, saying: “We will continue to advance our thinking in the systems we have embedded and look forward to the New Year and competing strongly again when the league resumes.”

Tullamore 27

Galwegians 5

There was a festive spirit in the air at Spollanstown today as Tullamore recorded a well-merited 27-5 victory over Galwegians in front of their home supporters.

This was the second meeting of the sides in the space of a week and the Offaly women once again came away with the spoils, but this time it was much more clear-cut than the first outing.

Tullamore ran in five tries and will now look forward to their Christmas break with relish after a match which gives them great hope for the rest of the campaign. Head coach Colin Hughes was delighted with the win and stated that it came on the back of hard work in training.

“This is a great win for us, but it’s no more than the girls deserve for the efforts put in. There were some very nice hard lines of running out there today and subtle offloading that brought us success,” he said.

“We had some very good performances all over the field with Moya Griffin and Rose Dunne tackling relentlessly as well as Shannon Touhey who bagged another brace of tries.”

Galwegians had travelled without eight members of their injury-hit squad. They were on the back foot from early in the game, but under the guidance of Mairead Coyne and Edel ‘Tricky’ McMahon, they fought valiantly with Saoirse McGrath getting a try five minutes from the end. The Blue Belles had stand-out performances from Amelie Roux, McMahon, Ina Butler and sisters Noreen and Mairead Coyne.

Highfield 12

Old Belvedere 29

A much-improved Highfield took on Old Belvedere at Woodleigh Park today and while the final scoreline of 29-12 favoured the visitors, the Cork women can take a lot from their display.

Highfield dearly wanted to prove themselves after last week’s heavy defeat at the hands of the Dublin 4 club and they certainly did so in an exciting and hard-fought match in Cork. The hosts came out of the blocks intent on making an impression with eye-catching scrums and maul possession yielding penalties and putting massive pressure on the Dubliners.

They got off to the perfect start with a series of pick and goes driving their momentum with Ireland front row star Leah Lyons going over the whitewash early on for a 5-0 advantage.

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However, ‘Belvo refused to be rattled and used their excellent handling skills to move the ball quickly and effectively, with Nora Stapleton, Alison Miller and recent signing Sene Naoupu wielding plenty of influence. This led to the visitors scoring three tries when they pounced on mistakes from Highfield and used their quick-thinking to move the scoreboard along.

The second half was a real battle between two hard-working sides with Highfield again gaining metres through Ciara O’Dwyer, Zoe Grattage and Heather O’Brien with Lyons doing well with the boot and a massive pack effort from the home forwards.

‘Belvo were powerful all over the pitch and their excellent pack impressed throughout, but Highfield closed the gap early in the new half when another maul turned into a pick-and-go try again from Lyons for her second of the day

However, that was as close as the Cork women would get to winning and ‘Belvo closed the game out in impressive fashion. Their high-quality handling gave them the upper hand with Ireland aces Stapleton and Naoupu working well off each other around the pitch.

Cooke 5

Railway Union 35

Railway Union continued their unbeaten march with a hard-earned and convincing 35-5 victory in Belfast. The Dubliners ran in six tries and were clear and deserving winners but once again, the scoreline did not do justice to the competitive nature of the hosts.

Cooke were once again very able at set piece time and held their own in many aspects but they could not match the teamwork, systems and flair of Railway who just had too many scoring options.

The winners had fine displays all over the field as Aoife McDermott impressed out of touch, while the back row of Grainne Egan, captain Meg Kendal and Daisy Earle impressed and Ciara Cooney led a defence that chopped everything coming their way.

Susan Vaughan contributed two of the six tries and she was joined on the scoresheet by Larissa Muldoon, Nikki Caughey, Katie O’Dwyer and skipper Kendal, who was delighted with the 30-point success.

“We’re going home happy after that display,” she explained. “Cooke are a fine team and play great rugby. We’re just a little further down the line in terms of development but they’ll have a big say in this league yet. Now we turn our thoughts to next weekend’s clash with UL Bohs. We’re really looking forward to that.”

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