The Women’s All Ireland League kicked off this season with four Ulster sides involved in the opening day fixtures.
Our featured match was an all Ulster affair with Belfast Harlequins beating City of Derry 43 – 0 in the AIL2N at Deramore Park on Sunday afternoon.
Quins started the game strongly running in two quick tries from Zoe Templeton and Max McMorris Caughley against an inexperienced City of Derry. Nikki Caughey converted the first try to give the home side a 12 – 0 lead.
Derry started to find their feet but, facing a strong wind, they struggled to get the ball out of their own half and the pressure told when Bronagh McClenaghan forced her way over for Quins third try after 20 minutes with Caughey adding the extras.
Despite some spirited defence from Derry, with Stacey Lea Kennedy and Kelly Holmes prominent, Quins managed to finish the half of in style with, the always dangerous, Ashleigh Baxter and Zoe Templeton going over before the break.
Caughey landed both conversions to give Quins a 33 – 0 lead at the break.
With the wind behind them Derry managed to keep Quins pinned in their own half for much of the second half. Good darts from Kennedy at lineout time gave the visitors some continuity and the visitors came close on a couple of occasions.
However with the Quins back row dominating the breakdown and their strong scrum producing a few turnovers the home side managed to keep their line intact and they always looked dangerous on the break Templeton, Baxter, Caughey and Boyd all making good runs.
Ace finisher Templeton was the one to make the breaks count with the flying winger running in two unconverted tries in the second half to take her personal tally to four for the game.
Final Score: Belfast Harlequins 43 City of Derry 0.
Belfast Harlequins: Ashleigh Baxter, Bronagh McClenaghan, Nikki Caughey, Dani Boyd, Zoe Templeton, Lesley Megarty, Frankie Du Rieux, , Jolene McMorris Caughley, Rebecca Smith, Brenda Artt, Kara Swales, Alanagh Chipperfield, Ann Marie Nolan, Sorcha Chipperfield, Jen Goodall, Steph Ballantine, Claire Reid
City of Derry: Nicola Simpson, Emma McGinley, Michelle McLaughlin, Catherine McKinney, Joanne Leonard, Laura Dunn, Hannah Kilgore, Stacey-Lea Kennedy, Louise Friel Clarke, Rachel Lennox, Roberta McLaughlin, Kelly Holmes, Sinead, Carolanne Macrory, Kathy McAneney, Linzi Cooke
There were big scores in all the AIL 1 matches on Sunday with over 250 points scored in only four matches. The most points scored was at Shaw’s Bridge and unfortunately it was Cooke who were on the end of a 12 – 63 spanking by Galwegians. However the Belfast side can take some comfort that they did outscore Tralee, St. Mary’s and Blackrock who all suffered equally big defeats.
In AIL2N Cavan got their season off to a flyer with a 15 – 0 win on the road against Navan, setting up a top of the table clash against Quins next weekend.