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Reigning champions UL Bohs continue winning form as Old Belvo edge out Railway Union

Meanwhile, there were also wins for Blackrock and Highfield.

THERE WAS PLENTY of action in Round 12 of the Women’s All-Ireland League this weekend. Old Belvedere, Blackrock and UL Bohemians were among those with wins, writes Michael Gallagher.

A general view of the game Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Old Belvedere 19 Railway Union 0, Anglesea Road

Old Belvedere joined second-placed Railway Union on 44 points in the Women’s All-Ireland League table following a well-merited 19-0 win over a very young Railway outfit at Angelsea Road on Saturday.

Both sides were shorn of their international players, but ‘Belvo dealt with that imposition better by using some of their more experienced squad members to great effect.

Sophie Spence, Aine Donnelly and Nora Stapleton all got on the scoresheet in a very physical contest and they were deserving winners in the end, but Railway’s director of rugby John Cronin was not too disappointed with the setback.

“We’d a very young side out today, eight of them were Under-20 with five of them just 18 years of age.

It was a step up in intensity and at a level that they haven’t experienced before. We felt we were probably more than a match physically but there’ll be disappointment with some of our decision-making at times,” he said.

Nora Stapleton Source: Nora Stapleton

“It was a fantastic learning opportunity for our younger players to play against so many seasoned internationals and it will stand to them. They’re very coachable and eager to learn.

“Our mantra all year has been (IRFU President) Phil Orr doesn’t give out trophies until April. We’re still on track for our initial aim of a home semi-final and once we start re-integrating our internationals after the Six Nations, we’ll be a tough proposition for anyone.”

Blackrock 27 Galwegians 19, Stradbrook

A fired-up Blackrock side sent Galwegians down to seventh place in the table with a hard-earned and dramatic 27-19 triumph at Stradbrook today.

There was little or nothing to choose between the sides going down the final straight, but a late try from Hannah O’Connor and a try-saving tackle from
Alannah Byrne sealed the deal for ‘Rock and sent Galwegians back west with nothing to show for their efforts.

Byrne, Aoife Tyrrell, Grace Kelly and O’Connor shared out the tries for the winners, while the influential O’Connor also fired two conversions and a penalty through the uprights.

Denise Redmond tallied up nine points for ‘Wegians via a try and two conversions, with the impressive Kayla Ahki helping herself to a brace of tries in her debut for Galwegians, but the south Dubliners produced the stronger finish.

UL Bohemians 43 Cooke 3, University of Limerick 4G pitch

The scoreboard was a little harsh on Cooke today in Limerick as the reigning league champions recorded a 40-point victory over their Belfast opponents.

There is little doubt that UL Bohemians were clear and deserving winners, but Cooke put it up to the hosts in the early exchanges.

Cooke defended well and spent some time in the Bohs 22 but were unable to make the most of their opportunities due to excellent defensive work from the home side.

Jemma Jackson had the opportunity to put Cooke in front early in the second quarter but was unfortunate to see her kick drift wide of the upright.

Shortly afterwards, the opening score came at the other end where a strong team effort ended with Aoife O’Sullivan crossing the whitewash.

Cooke hit back when Jackson slotted a penalty after an infringement from the Bohs pack, but the Limerick women were about to cut loose.

The first half was hard-fought and the Red Robins were just 12-3 clear at the interval, and the third quarter was also tight and well-contested, but Bohs ran away with it near the end.

Jemma Jackson in action with Aine Staunton 3/12//2016 Áine Staunton. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

Mairead Kelly touched twice and Edel Murphy, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Aine Staunton and Chloe Pearse also crossed the line.

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The table toppers, who hold a 10-point lead ahead of the final two rounds and are destined for a home semi-final, ran in four of those tries in the final ten minutes after Cooke were reduced to 14 players for repeated infringements.

The Belfast side are back in Limerick next weekend for an All-Ireland Cup semi-final clash with Bohs.

Highfield 19 Tullamore 7, Woodleigh Park

This basement battle at Woodleigh Park produced a game of great endeavour and it ended with a crucial 19-7 success for hosts Highfield.

The result takes them up to sixth overall and leaves bottom-placed Tullamore in real trouble with only matches against Railway Union and UL Bohemians to come.

Tullamore knew they had to win in Cork to boost their survival hopes but Highfield are doughty fighters and were 12 points to the good at the final whistle.

Hard-working prop Alice Brislane got the first try after a number of phases from the forwards left the home side camped in Tullamore 22.

Linda McNamara converted before Zoe Grattage notched second try after an excellent rolling maul.

The icing was put on the Highfield cake when back rower Ciara Dwyer struck for the third score after breaking off another well-executed maul. When McNamara landed the conversion, the Cork women were home and dry.

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Michael Gallagher

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