I am really enjoying this league this season, Railway Union on fire, an improving Ulster representation and those old dogs (in the nicest sense of course) UL Bohemians still chalking up the wins.
Elsewhere, the rest of the sides appear to be in some sort of post World Cup hiatus but the likes of Galwegians and Tullamore are too good to go too long without a win.
Of course our interest is based on Belfast outfit Cooke who have started the season with two wins from two and I’d say we’ll get a feel for how successful their season is going to be when they host, defending champions, UL Bohemians at Shaws Bridge on Saturday evening, kick off 17:00. It promises to be the tie of the round.
No Bohs side released as yet, but speaking to their veteran prop and media superstar Fiona Hays there is the prospect of a few changes in the back line though Hayes herself is looking forward to the physical challenge up front.
As for Cooke, the inclusion of youngsters Vicky Irwin and Brittany Hogan in this years squad has increased the strength in depth in the back line and with Jemma Jackson and Claire McLaughlin in the mix they can field a variety of formidable back lines.
However the return of Gemma McCutcheon appears to be the main catalysts of their improvement this season and according to vice captain Lauren Maginnes this is a game that Cooke will target for a good performance.
No offence to our Limerick chums but I think Cooke will pull this one off. Really looking forward to it and I’ll be rushing back from U18’s duty in Dublin to cover this as our featured match.
Railway Union kick off against Old Belvedere at the same time on Saturday at their Park Avenue grounds. The team of the moment have made a few changes to the side that were on fire against Tullamore last week but they still maintain a strong core. Certainly, captain Meg Kendal is not expecting a drop in standards with those players coming in this week expected to push for higher.
This all points to a difficult afternoon for Belvo, who recorded a formidable enough result themselves last week with a big win against Galwegians. The Dublin aristocrats will provide a sterner test for Railway but I still expect the home side to bag another five pointer.
Both of Sunday’s games are interesting in their own way. I do not know wtf has happened Galwegians this season, I’ve yet to see them play, but they have too much talent to languish in the bottom two for too long.
Facing a hard working Blackrock is not the sort of game that they would be looking forward to under the current circumstances. However, I feel that there will be something of a backlash this weekend from our Connacht cousins and I’m going for a narrow home win.
The match between Tullamore and Highfield has the scent of a relegation battle around it, and we are only three weeks into the season. Highfield are in disarray following the departure of coach Laura Guest to the Munster Branch and Tullamore are licking their wounds after a mauling by Railway.
None of this points to a great game, but I think it will be a cracker. Tullamore will have been targeting this game since the fixtures were announced and I think they’ll get the result, but only just as Highfield like nothing better than planting the back foot and scrapping it out.
Women’s AIL Week 3 Fixtures.
|Sat 30th Sep 17||17:00||Cooke||v||U.L. Bohemian||Shaws Bridge|
|Sat 30th Sep 17||17:00||Railway Union RFC||v||Old Belvedere||Park Avenue|
|Sun 1st Oct 17||13:00||Galwegians||v||Blackrock||Crowley Park|
|Sun 1st Oct 17||13:00||Tullamore||v||Highfield||Spollanstown|