Blackrock edge out champions Old Belvedere, Cooke beaten on debut

This weekend saw eight teams meet in the second round of the Women’s AIL Division 1.

Old Belvedere's Ailis Egan scored the only try of the game in their defeat to Blackrock.
Old Belvedere's Ailis Egan scored the only try of the game in their defeat to Blackrock.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

REIGNING QUEENS OF Irish rugby Old Belvedere were besieged by rivals Blackrock in the opening 40 minutes of Sunday’s Dublin derby at Stradbrook.

Michelle Claffey, making her comeback from the cruciate ligament injury she sustained last season, was nerveless when confronted with a penalty kick to send her side into the dressing room with a 3-0 lead.

The champions turned the screw in the second half and Blackrock cracked — Debbie Clarke receiving a yellow card after 48 minutes for persistent infringement around the breakdown by her team.

Irish international Ailis Egan crossed for the game’s only try with an hour played. From a scrum on the 22, the Old Belvo star gathered the ball and broke down the left to score. Her Irish international colleague Nora Stapleton was unable to add the conversion.

With two minutes remaining, Claffey was afforded a second opportunity to score three points and she proved the returning heroine for Blackrock with her two penalties at the end of each half winning the game.

Sunday’s action began in Belfast with newly-promoted Cooke making their Division 1A debut against UL Bohemians.

A hat-trick of tries from player of the game Liz Burke, two more by Edel Murphy and a penalty and two conversions from Ireland’s Six Nations-winning captain Niamh Briggs helped UL Bohemians to win by five points but their rivals almost snatched glory in their first game at this level.

After the Limerick side took an early lead, Cooke settled into the game and scrumhalf Beth Cregan wrote her name in the Cooke history books as their first player to score in Division 1A.

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Outhalf Eliza Downey got Cooke’s fifth try after 78 minutes to set up a grandstand finish but Bohs clung on to claim the victory while Cooke had to settle for two bonus points.

In Park Avenue, Railway Union whitewashed a beleaguered Queens side. The home team ran in eight tries, including a brace from Martina McCarthy, as part of their 48 unanswered points.

Elsewhere, Highfield defeated St Mary’s Woodleigh Park.

  • Cooke 27 – 32 UL Bohemians Shaws Bridge
  • Blackrock 6 – 5 Old Belvedere Stradbrook
  • Highfield 20 – 5 St Mary’s Woodleigh Park
  • Railway Union 48 – 0 Queens Park Avenue

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About the author:

Aisling Crowe

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