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UL Bohemians maintain unbeaten run at top of Women's All-Ireland League

Meanwhile, Railway Union’s winning run continued as they made it five wins from five.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

NINE GAMES, NINE victories. UL Bohemians remain unbeaten at the top of the league after their ninth win of the season, their victims this time St Mary’s.

Home games, away matches, they all come alike to the Munster women who were the away team in the lunchtime game at Templeville Road but emerged with all the points on offer to stretch their lead at the top of the League to five points.

The evidence of the first 30 minutes would not have predicted such a comprehensive win for the away side as both UL Bohemians and St Mary’s pushed and pulled, defending and attacking with vim and vigour.

Máiréad Kelly, player of the match last week against Blackrock, showed her worth yet again for the Robins, making the breakthrough with a try on 31 minutes, after a slaloming solo run down the flanks. Edel Murphy, who doubles as the Kerry ladies’ goalkeeper, added the conversion.

Alison Miller attempts to get through a gap Alison Miller in action for Ireland against Wales today. Source: Paul Walsh/INPHO

A penalty try was awarded to the visitors three minutes later, and Murphy duly slotted over the conversion. Kelly again raced away down the left wing to add her second inside eight minutes and give her team a 19-0 lead at half time.

Áine Staunton sealed their fifth try bonus point of the season, barely a minute into the second-half.

John Keane of UL Bohemians described the full-back’s score: “Last week she fielded a high ball at the start of the first half and Staunton ran in under the posts for a try on 41 minutes. This week the full-back repeated the magic, only this time she scored in the corner.”

Clare McDonald went over in the right corner, near the flag to make it 29-0 and Murphy kicked a tricky conversion to give the Robins a 31-0 lead.

St Mary’s fought back in the closing minutes and were rewarded for their efforts with a try from María Jose San Perega but the Limerick bird had flown.

“We were happy with the victory, it was convincing and sets us up nicely for next week but we are taking nothing for granted,” Keane added.

The race for the three other play-off positions tightened following Sunday’s round of games but Old Belvedere consolidated their second place with a 19-3 defeat of Cooke.

“Although we scored three tries, it was another tough game, very similar to last seek,” said Ruth McElroy. ”There were a lot of set pieces and while we dominated at the scrum, Cooke were more in control at the line outs.”

Cooke besieged the Old Belvedere 22 in the opening minutes but only came away with a penalty to show for their efforts. The home team got the opening try of the game afte r 20 minutes when Millicent Cromin was in the right place after good play from the Old Belvedere forwards, and she wiggled through a gap and touched down on the right side of the posts. The ever reliable boot of Jackie provided the conversion.

Cromin provided her side with their second try minutes before the half-time whistle sounded. The full-back again making use of her pace to score a second try but it was a bittersweet game for Cromin as she later was forced off with a hip problem.

Sophie Spence and combined neatly for the third try of the afternoon for Cooke with Spence’s position crucial to the score. After making metres through the tackles, Spence offloaded just short of the line. After a couple of pick an go moves, the ball squirted out to who dove over the line for the try, which she converted for a final score of 19-3.

Railway Union’s winning run continued as they made it five wins from five, their latest victory away to Highfield in Cork Clare Ryan stole the show from full-back, scoring both of her team’s tries and making an heroic last ditch tackle in the dying seconds of the game to prevent Highfield from scoring and ensuring Railway won.

An absorbing contest was scoreless at half-time but it did not remain tht way for long when play resumed after the break. With two minutes on the clock, Ryan galloped into the corner to break the deadlock and pull her team in front. Highfield replied with a penalty and it was nip and tuck for an enthralling game.

“Great work from the forwards gave us the possession and Clare was there for her second try to make it 10-3,” explained John Cronin, Director of Rugby for Railway Union.

“Clare was brilliant today as was Juliet Short again, our tight-head Lucy O’Sullivan and Emma Taylor, a Canadian international all had stand out games for us today.”

Galwegians got themselves back to winning ways when emerging on top in a tight, tense and thrilling game against Blackrock at Stradbrook.

Heather Cary was quick off the mark, grabbing the game’s opening try inside ten minutes to make it 5 – 0 to the Blue Belles but Blackrock roared back and a period of sustained pressure kept the visitors pinned back.

Sarah Jane Ryan broke free from the Blackrock shackles to claim Galwegians’ second try, and Clare Raftery added the conversion.

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With a 12 point lead, Galwegians were inclined to snooze a little and Blackrock were not in a mood to brook defeat. The game was tied on 12 points apiece with 20 minutes to go. Then Blackrock, who were fuelled by a surge in belief went ahead for the first time in the game with a third try.

There were ten minutes to go and the home team led 17 – 12 and Galwegians were under severe pressure. The Connacht women regained their composure and the ball, camping in the Blackrock 22 for the next nine minutes. Blackrock repelled the waves of invaders but in the end, Ursula Salmon scrambled over in the corner to tie the match.

Rafftery nailed the pressure kick from a tight angle to give Galwegians a breathless victory and hold on to third place in the league, just two points ahead of Railway Union.

UL Bohemians play their rescheduled game against Cooke in Limerick next Sunday, while the League goes on brief hiatus with the first weekend in February bringing a round of Cup matches, signalling the start of spring.

Women’s All Ireland League Round 10 Results:
Blackrock 19 – 17 Galwegians Stradbrook

Highfield 3 – 10 Railway Union Woodleigh Park

St Mary’s 5 – 31 UL Bohemians Templeville Road

Old Belvedere 17 – 3 Cooke Anglesea Road

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Aisling Crowe

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