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Irish internationals to the fore as Blackrock and Railway book AIL final spots

The TG4-televised decider takes place on 26 February.

Dorothy Wall starred for Blackrock College (file pic).
Dorothy Wall starred for Blackrock College (file pic).
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Energia Women’s All-Ireland League Round-Up

BLACKROCK COLLEGE AND reigning champions Railway Union will contest the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League final in just under two weeks’ time.

Impressive bonus-point victories on the road saw Blackrock and Railway reach the TG4-televised decider on 26 February, with a round to spare.

Ben Martin’s ‘Rock side ran out 44-5 winners at Old Belvedere; good passes from Aoibheann Reilly and Aoife Wafer releasing Maeve Liston for a 10th-minute opener out wide.

Dorothy Wall’s break set up Maggie Boylan for the second score five minutes later, but Belvedere, with Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird to the fore, hit back on the stroke of half-time when Vic Dabanbovich O’Mahony drove over in the right corner.

Blackrock went up the gears in the second half, though, with captain Michelle Claffey crossing after Lisa Mullen’s lovely offload out of a tackle.

Wall pinched turnover ball for Katie Fitzhenry’s bonus point score, and ‘Rock added four more tries during the closing 25 minutes.

The ever-industrious Wall showed her Sevens-honed speed on a 60-metre run-in, Claffey and Boylan completed their braces, and a clever run and offload from Claffey put Aoibheann Reilly over in the 73rd minute.

A five-try first-half salvo got the job done for Railway away to UL Bohemians, with winger Aoife Doyle touching down twice in a 31-14 win.

With the wind behind them, Railway quickly got on the scoreboard through captain Niamh Byrne and Doyle. Byrne’s classy break and pass led to a 15th-minute try for Lindsay Peat, under the posts.

lindsay-peat-makes-a-break Lindsay Peat on the ball for Railway (file pic). Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Bohs were unable to get their hands on the ball, and taking a nice line off a scrum, Limerick woman Doyle broke past Enya Breen to scamper in for the bonus point try.

Muirne Wall used a quick tap penalty to get UL off the mark, but Ireland Sevens star Eve Higgins replied for Railway before the interval, leaving four defenders for dead with a brilliant burst of pace and deft sidestepping.

A sustained spell of pressure saw UL captain Chloe Pearse power over in the 50th minute, closing the gap to 17 points, but Railway’s strong defence frustrated the Red Robins for the remainder of the game.

Suttonians sealed their place in the Conference final, young centre Kate Farrell McCabe, who returned from Ireland Sevens duty, starring with four tries in their 34-22 triumph over Ballincollig.

Galwegians captain Mairéad Coyne claimed a brace of tries in a runaway 41-0 victory over Malone, while Ireland Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall had a successful debut with Wicklow, who edged out Cooke 22-17.

Quick ball from a scrum was fed into midfield where Coyne burst through for the opening score at Crowley Park, before Ursula Sammon thundered clear of three defenders for a fine individual try, also converted by Emma Keane.

After ‘Wegians won a scrum against the head, Coyne tied in two defenders and flicked a pass away for Saskia Morrissey to score.

mairead-coyne Mairead Coyne (file pic). Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Centre Megan Walsh was the fourth member of the back-line to get over the whitewash, charging through following a turnover on the edge of the Malone 22.

The rain made for a tighter second half, but Niamh O’Grady crashed over from close range, Coyne crossed again from her own kick through and second row Grace Browne Moran rounded off the scoring from a crisp line of passes.

Jarrad Butler’s Blue Belles have climbed back into second place, sitting two points above Ballincollig. The two teams meet in Glenina next Saturday in what is effectively a play-off to decide who joins Sutts in the final.

Meanwhile, it was celebration time again for Wicklow in Belfast – they overcome Malone recently for their first ever away AIL win – as Ella Roberts’ bonus point try in the final play saw them prevail at Shaw’s Bridge.

Energia Women’s AIL results

TOP FOUR – ROUND FOUR

OLD BELVEDERE 5 BLACKROCK COLLEGE 44, Ollie Campbell Park

Scorers for Old Belvedere: Try: Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony
Scorers for Blackrock College: Tries: Maeve Liston, Maggie Boylan 2, Michelle Claffey 2, Katie Fitzhenry, Dorothy Wall, Aoibheann Reilly; Cons: Jackie Shiels 2

OLD BELVEDERE: Fiona Tuite; Clare Gorman, Sene Naoupu, Jenny Murphy (capt), Laura Carty; Aine Donnelly, Kathryn Dane; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Melissa Hayden, Clodagh Dunne, Elaine Anthony, Niamh O’Dowd, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Ciara O’Dwyer.

Replacements: Dawn Keegan, Niamh Fitzgerald, Jan Carroll, Alannah O’Carroll, Vanessa Hullon, Sarah Armstrong, Amber Redmond.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Natasja Behan; Maggie Boylan, Michelle Claffey (capt), Katie Fitzhenry, Maeve Liston; Lisa Mullen, Aoibheann Reilly; Aoife Moore, Emma Hooban, Christy Haney, Eimear Corri, Dorothy Wall, Aoife Wafer, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Hannah O’Connor.

Replacements: Niamh Tester, Meadhbh O’Callaghan, Meadbh Scally, Mairead Holohan, Ali Coleman, Jackie Shiels, Ciara Scanlan.

UL BOHEMIANS 14 RAILWAY UNION 31, UL Arena

Scorers for UL Bohemians: Tries: Muirne Wall, Chloe Pearse; Cons: Enya Breen 2
Scorers for Railway Union: Tries: Niamh Byrne, Aoife Doyle 2, Lindsay Peat, Eve Higgins; Cons: Nikki Caughey 3

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

Replacements: Leah Sweeney, Eilís Cahill, Caoimhe O’Neill, Lily Brady, Louise Costello, Niamh Kavanagh, Aoibhinn O’Loughlin.

RAILWAY UNION: Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Aoife Doyle, Niamh Byrne (capt), Eve Higgins, Katie Heffernan; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Lindsay Peat, Chloe Blackmore, Katie O’Dwyer, Aoife McDermott, Kate McCarthy, Emma Murphy, Claire Boles, Deirdre Roberts.

Replacements: Megan Collis, Amanda McQuade, Grainne O’Loughlin, Keelin Brady, Anna McGann, Aoife O’Shaughnessy, Tess Feury.

CONFERENCE – ROUND 4:

BALLINCOLLIG 22 SUTTONIANS 34, Tanner Park

Scorers for Ballincollig: Tries: Heather Kennedy 2, Jayne Pennefather, Katelyn Fleming; Con: Denise Redmond
Scorers for Suttonians: Tries: Catherine Martin, Kate Farrell McCabe 4, Molly Fitzgerald; Cons: Nicole Carroll 2

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

Replacements: Aoife Flynn, Laurileigh Baker, Olivia Hay Mulvihill, Sarah O’Donovan, Kira Fitzgerald, Ellen O’Keeffe, Michelle Stafford.

SUTTONIANS: Emily McKeown; Molly Fitzgerald, Kate Farrell McCabe, Catherine Martin, Jools Aungier; Nicole Carroll, Lauren Farrell McCabe (capt); Katie Grant Duggan, Aoife Brennan, Mary Healy, Grainne Tummon, Aislinn Layde, Louise Catinot, Carrie O’Keeffe, Brenda Barr.

Replacements: Julia Bauer, Katie Reel, Julia O’Connor, Ali Howick, Jessica Kelleher, Meabh Donohoe.

COOKE 17 WICKLOW 22, Shaw’s Bridge

Scorers for Cooke: Tries: Kelly McCormill, Beth Cregan; Cons: Beth Cregan, Dolores Hughes; Pen: Dolores Hughes
Scorers for Wicklow: Tries: Lauren Barry, Niamh Ni Dhroma, Megan McConnell, Ella Roberts; Con: Beth Roberts

COOKE: Dolores Hughes; Tamzin Boyce, Lucy Thompson, Kelly McCormil, Caitlin Fisher; Ashleigh Orchard, Georgia Boyce; Ilse van Staden, Beth Cregan, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Caolinn McCormack, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, India Daley, Katie Hetherington, Helen McGhee.

Replacements: Fiona McCaughan, Cara O’Kane, Megan Simpson, Eimear McQuillan, Chloe McMorran.

WICKLOW: Ella Roberts; Meagan Parkinson, Lucy Mulhall, Sarah Gleeson, Megan McConnell; Beth Roberts, Erin McConnell (capt); Niamh O’Leary, Noelle Ward, Lauren Barry, Laura Newsome, Caitlin Griffey, Emma Curran, Jessica Schmidt, Niamh Ni Dhroma.

Replacements: Amy O’Neill, Kathy Byrne, Becky Condren, Aoife Dunne.

GALWEGIANS 41 MALONE 0, Crowley Park

Scorers for Galwegians: Tries: Mairéad Coyne 2, Ursula Sammon, Saskia Morrissey, Megan Walsh, Niamh O’Grady, Grace Browne Moran; Cons: Emma Keane 3
Malone: –

GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne (capt); Saskia Morrissey, Megan Walsh, Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon; Emma Keane, Darwyn O’Halloran; Elizabeth Mc Nicholas, Nolwenn Dubois, Jessica Loftus, Niamh O’Grady, Grace Browne Moran, Hannah Coen, Lisa-Marie Murphy, Dearbhla Canty.

Replacements: Tracy Lawlor, Kiara Irwin, Fiona Scally, Nicole Curley, Nicole Fowley, Laoise McGonagle, Rhiann Heery.

MALONE: Holly Brannigan; Jill Stephens, Emma Jordan, Sophie Armstrong, Fern Wilson; Peita McAlister (capt), Shirelle Wilson; Sarah Murphy, Cara O’Neill, Anna Smith, Hannah Beattie, Jennifer Collins, Emma Taylor, Chloe McIlwaine, Lauren Maginnes.

Replacements: Katie-Anne McCallion, Anna Stanfield, Jana McQuillan.

BTL 5

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