Whoop, whoop! The girls are back in town as the Women’s All Ireland League returns for one week only, November being a bit of a messy month thanks to the Women’s Autumn Internationals. There are only two weekends of league fixtures in November but they are interesting ones as the teams play the same opposition home and away as the league fixtures round the halfway mark. 

Our featured team, Cooke Women RFC, have got the formidable task of facing league leaders UL Bohemians during this period, with this weekends fixture at Shaws Bridge, and despite the likely absence of quite a few internationals it’s a fixture I’m very much looking forward to. 

Despite the comparative records so far this season (Bohs 6 out of 6, Cooke 2 out of 6) I’m going to tip Cooke for this one as I suspect the international call ups will affect the visitors more than the hosts. 

Sat 5th Nov 16 16:00 AIL Blackrock   v   Highfield Stradbrook
Sun 6th Nov 16 12:30 AIL St. Mary’s   v   Railway Union RFC Templeville Road
Sun 6th Nov 16 13:00 AIL Cooke   v   U.L. Bohemian Shaws Bridge
Sun 6th Nov 16 13:00 AIL Galwegians   v   Old Belvedere Crowley Park


The Saturday kick off match between Blackrock and Highfield should be reasonably unaffected by international call ups with only three players between them in the Ireland squad. However Blackrock’s strength in depth should be too much for the visitors and I expect this one to be a comfortable home win. 

Sunday sees the all Leinster clash between St Mary’s and Railway Union at Templeville Road. The absence of Fitzpatrick and Fitzsimmons from an already stretched St Mary’s is likely to have a bigger effect on their team than the absence of Caughey and Moloney will have on Railway.

Railway will also be keen to get the jump on Cooke and force their way back up to fifth spot so for these reasons I’m going with the visitors for this one. 

The final match sees third place Old Belvedere take on second place Galwegians in what should be the tie of the round. With international call ups, Galwegians could be missing three of their back line but their pack should be largely intact.

On the other hand Belvo could be missing six key players in total, three from the forwards and three from the backs and as we all know, forwards win matches and backs decide by how much, so I have to go with Galwegians for this one. 

The return fixtures will be played on the 19th/20th November.