Only one week in and it’s shaping up to be a fun season in the Women’s All Ireland League, with Railway Union, Cooke, Blackrock and defending champions UL Bohemians setting the early pace, clocking up 166 points between them.

Railway Union contributed almost half of that total, scoring 76 points in their win against Galwegians. The Dublin outfit, which features Ulster players, Nikki Caughey and Larissa Muldoon, will be hosting the first of our featured matches this weekend as they welcome newly promoted Tullamore to Willow Lawn, Sandymount, on Saturday afternoon. Kick off 17:00.

With Railway able to call on at least half a dozen Irish internationals it looks like it’s going to be another tough game for the visitors. However, Railway’s captain Meg Kendal isn’t underestimating the challenge ahead;

“We are looking forward to welcoming Tullamore to Sandymount. They are a fantastic club with one of the most progressive age-grade setups in the country and they belong in the AIL. We know them well from the Leinster League and from playing against them at age-grade level over the years.

We trained well this week and everyone is fighting hard to make the squad.  We’ve made a number of changes to the team after Galwegians last week, as well as some positional switches. We’re looking for an improved performance this week and we’re really excited to get out on the pitch for our first home game on Saturday evening.”

Those changes see Muldoon at out half and Caughey at centre, a combination we are very much looking forward to seeing, and with FRU Favourites Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney re-uniting in the front row the home side should have too much power and experience for the Leagues newest team.

Cooke, where every player is a FRU Favourite, have made minimal changes to the team that won convincingly against Old Belvedere last week. Sorcha Mac Laimhin starts in second row after an abrasive second half last week from the veteran and Shannon Davidson starts for the unavailable Jemma Jackson who will be on duty as Team Manager with Ulster Women U18’s in Virginia.

Cooke’s centre pairing of Eliza Downey and Peita McAllister get a second outing despite the return of Irish International Claire McLaughlin who’ll start from the bench. She’ll be joined by new signing Dolores “Del Boy” Hughes who covers the back three.

Captain Beth Cregan told the Front Row Union ahead of Sunday’s match at Shaws Bridge;

We look forward to welcoming Blackrock to Belfast for another season, they are a team with which we have had close ties in the past.

The girls are looking to improve on things from last week. It was a good win but we know we will need to improve in certain areas if we are to get a result again this week.

This wlil be a tougher game but I reckon that Cooke will have enough firepower to pull out the win.

In the other matches Old Belvedere entertain Galwegians in the first tie of the round with a 1:00 pm kick off on Saturday. Both sides will be looking to get their season on track and we are going for a win for Belvo in a high scoring match.

The final match of the round is an all Munster affair with Highfield making the journey to Limerick to play UL Bohemians. Highfield ended up on the wrong side of a high scoring game against Blackrock last week and we expect them to suffer the same fate this week against the defending champions.

Women’s AIL Week 2 Fixtures

Sat 23rd Sep 17 13:00 Old Belvedere v Galwegians Anglesea Road
Sat 23rd Sep 17 17:00 Railway Union  v Tullamore Willow Park
Sun 24th Sep 17 13:00 Cooke  v Blackrock Shaws Bridge
Sun 24th Sep 17 13:00 U.L. Bohemians v Highfield Annacotty