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Champions UL Bohs make it five wins from five with impressive show against Belvo

There were plenty of tries and no shortage of exciting action in the Women’s All-Ireland League over the weekend.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

UL Bohemians 26

Old Belvedere 0

University of Limerick 4G pitch

UL BOHEMIANS KEPT kept their 100% start going with an impressive 26-0 bonus point win over Old Belvedere on Saturday evening. The champions were too powerful for the visitors who came into the game after two big victories, but Belvo failed to put any meaningful phases together and paid the price.

Bohs contested every ruck with great hunger, which put the Belvo half-backs under severe pressure. The home side also impressed in set piece play and this created a solid platform from which to launch attacks.

The first of UL’s four tries came off the back of a lineout maul when Anna Caplice got over the line and her team-mates Ciara Griffin, Mairead Kelly and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird followed her lead.

The game was played in poor weather conditions which made sparkling play difficult but the table toppers did more than enough to win the game, pocket their fifth successive bonus point and stay a point clear of Railway Union at the summit.

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Cooke 40

Galwegians 24

Shaw’s Bridge

It was a very happy birthday for Cooke captain Beth Cregan when her squad recorded a hard-earned 40-24 triumph over Galwegians at Shaw’s Bridge.

“We played for the badge on the front, not for the number on the back today and I think we can all be proud of our performance, despite taking the foot off the gas towards the end,” she said after the match.

The Belfast women started off well and got early points on the board with a penalty by Jemma Jackson. After a succession of phases they were rewarded with a try from Brittany Hogan out wide, following some excellent interplay between the backs and forwards.

Galwegians came back with a try of their own from Laura Feely, but this only heightened Cooke’s determination. The hosts’ second try came minutes later from Hogan after a fantastic break and some excellent individual work.

However, the see-saw nature of the game continued when Galwegians replied with their second try from Saoirse McGrath, but there was more to come before the interval when Cooke’s Ireland-capped prop Ilse van Staden touched down and Jackson converted for a 20-7 lead at half time.

In the second half, Cooke took their foot off the pedal somewhat, but were lucky to get a kickable penalty which Jackson slotted over. The Blue Belles tried to get back into it and pushed forward – only for a turnover to put Cooke on the front foot and some superb interplay between Helen McGhee, Vicky Irwin, Cregan and Emma Jordan led to a super team try, grounded by McGhee.

Cooke followed this up with another try by Jordan on the wing to leave them well clear, before Galwegians replied again with a try from Denise Redmond after several pick-and-goes by their strong-carrying forwards.

That was as close as they would get, however, and Cooke scored their final try when former international Amy Davis pinned her ears back from the 22 and raided in under the posts, with Jackson converting. Galwegians refused to throw in the towel and responded through Redmond after more sustained pressure from the pack and a series of pick-and-goes.

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Highfield 5

Railway Union 34

Woodleigh Park

The power, precision and pace of Railway Union proved too much for a game Highfield outfit in Cork, but the Munster side will take heart from the performance despite the scoreline.

Highfield more than held their own in the scrum but all they had to offer the scoreboard was try from Zoe Grattage. On the other hand, the Railway women deservedy crossed the whitewash six times in an excellent all-round performance.

Emma Taylor, Emer O’Mahony, Chloe Blackmore, Susan Vaughan, Shirley Corcoran and Grainne Egan all crossed the whitewash for the league’s second-placed side. XVs and Sevens international Nikki Caughey added two conversions as the Dubliners kept their impressive winning streak going and stayed on course for a tilt at the title.

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Tullamore 20

Blackrock 40

Spollanstown

Tullamore might still be searching for their first win of the season after a 40-20 reversal at the hands of Blackrock, but the Offaly side have to be happy with some impressive attacking play in this Round 6 clash.

Shannon Touhey, who claimed their opening try, Emer Phelan and Ciara Farrell were very impressive in that regard, with winger Clodagh Hanniffy also getting on the scoresheet as Tullamore registered their first try-scoring bonus point since their promotion to All-Ireland level.

However, some missed tackles cost the hosts dearly and Blackrock punished them with their pace and power. The south Dubliners were more clinical in attack and three tries from free-running youngster Eimear Corri, allied to singles from Michelle Claffey, Kathy Baker and Alannah Byrne, were added to by five conversions from Claffey as Rock took home maximum points.

Rock benefited from the return of some familiar faces with Dawn Smith, Katie Norris and Amy O’Neill all part of a well-drilled pack. Norris, in particular, had a great day at the office with strong dynamic running which saw her evade the Tullamore tacklers.

Richie McDonald’s charges grew in confidence throughout the opening half with their pods working well and allowing the backs a solid platform to be released out wide. Corri capitalised on turnover ball and ran the length of the pitch three times to punish the Tulliers.

Byrne scored from a training ground move involving the whole Rock back-line, while Baker’s try was a result of a beautifully-timed switch line which opened up the Tullamore defence and allowed her run in under the posts untouched.

Mairead Holohan also produced one of the moments of the day when she put in a try-saving tackle under the posts at a crucial moment and turned defence into attack for the eventual winners.

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