A sensational display by Railway Union saw them put seventeen tries past Tullamore Women on Saturday afternoon at Sandymount.
The home side served up power, pace and precision by the bucketful though, perhaps, the most important factors were the trust and support they showed each member of their team. Director Of Rugby John Cronin is not far from assembling the compete package in terms of team personnel, and I’m pleased to say he has hung his hook firmly on an attacking brand of rugby.
Tullamore enjoyed some traction in the opening minutes, but once the combative Cliodhna Moloney crossed on the tenth minute for a try, converted by Ulster’s Nikki Caughey, the floodgates opened.
The magnificent Lindsay Peat worked out her World Cup frustrations with three tries in the next 13 minutes, all again converted by Caughey. Ulster’s Larissa Muldoon crossed on the half hour mark and captain Meg Kendal, Niamh Byrne and Emer O’Mahoney all scored before the break, Caughey missing only one conversion in the half to give a score of 54 – 0 at the break.
O’Mahony completed her hat trick either side of a Cloe Blackmore effort and second row Aoife McDermott finished off a driving maul before Susan Vaughan added a brace.
Byrne made it a hat trick of hat tricks as she added two more to her total and captain Kendal finished it off with her second try in the closing minutes. Caughey added 10 conversions in total to give a final score of Railway union 105 Tullamore 0.
Speaking to various people about this remarkable scoreline over the weekend the expression, “it’s not good for the game” came up on nearly every occasion. Sure if Tullamore had been humiliated during the game that may have been true but, in my opinion the AIL’s newest side came out of the match with a huge amount of credit.
Quite simply they came up against a side who were fitter and more focused, and one that seems determined to drive Women’s rugby in Ireland to where it needs to be.
Tullamore were not that far off the mark and certainly as they get used to the pace of the game at this higher level they will record wins, they certainly have the personnel and the ability. Nichola Fryday had an impressive game in defence, covering so much ground, and Kim Cobbe was extremely combative in everything she did, the young fullback has a huge future ahead of her. The half back pairing of Brigid Hyland and Jill Draper also impressed. They will have their day.
We caught up with Raliway Union’s captain Meg Kendal after the game to her her thoughts on the match, Tullamore and the season ahead. (Sorry for losing the auto-focus halfway through – that was my fault!)
There are a huge amount of pictures below. The Women’s AIL Week 2 Wrap will be in our Cooke match report later this afternoon.