Cooke Women suffered their second league defeat of the season as they ended up on the wrong side of a 33 – 5 scoreline against high flying Railway Union.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been asked a few times if Cooke are the “real deal” this season and, on the evidence of this game, yes they are. This was a cracking game and the score does not reflect the competitive performance from Cooke who will still have a major say on the title race this season.

Now, while it was a thoroughly enjoyable game from two attack minded teams, it didn’t quite hit the high standards that both teams would expect. Cooke made just too many mistakes and their kicking, particularly to touch, was woefully wayward, a criminal offence against a counter attacking side like Railway.

As for Railway they will be disappointed with their scrums, which Ilse van Staden destroyed early doors, and their lineouts were hit and miss, the home side fortunate that so many overthrows eventually went to hand.

The rest of the game, well, it was simply great. No quarter was asked or given as the two teams went toe to toe all over the pitch. The pick being the midfield battle between Railway’s pacy Susan Vaughan and the powerful, leg pumping bursts of Cooke’s Brittany Hogan, fantastic from both.

Up front Lindsay Peat will not have enjoyed moving across the front row, to be worked over by van Staden, but she is that vital link for Railway between the forwards and the backs, her ball distribution out of hand of the highest order.

As I’d said in the preview, Cooke are a team on the way up and Railway are the finished article that just need a bit of polishing and it was that extra polish that made the difference.

Railway’s  scores came from captain Meg Kendal (2), Aimee Clarke, Susan Vaughan and Katie O’Dwyer and Ulster’s Nikki Caughey landed four conversions for the Dublin side.

Cooke’s try was scored by their abrasive captain Beth Cregan who also had an impressive game.

The teams meet again this Sunday, at Shawsbridge, in what is sure to be another entertaining encounter as Cooke look to keep the pressure on at the top of the table by reversing the score line.

As for the rest of the games, the big news has to be Tullamore Women’s first win in the AIL. Not only a win but an away win with a try bonus to boot as Clodagh Hanniffy (2), Sharon Touhey (2) and Emer Phelan all crossed in the enthralling 27 – 31 victory at Galwegians. I swear I could hear the full time cheers from the Tully team as I arrived at Railway for the late kick off.  😆

At the other end of the table them “Boring Old Bohs” recorded yet another bonus point win  😕 , this time on the road with a 24 – 39 victory at Blackrock. Bohemian really are the models of consistency and I look forward to covering their re-arranged match against Railway on 26th November at Park Avenue.

The remaining fixture saw Old Belvedere trounce an understrength Highfield 63 – 3 at Anglesea Road.

So at the halfway point of the league campaign the League Table looks like this.

Team Pl W D L F A Diff TB LB Pts
U.L. Bohemian 6 6 0 0 219 62 157 6 0 30
Railway Union RFC 6 6 0 0 331 33 298 5 0 29
Cooke 7 5 0 2 144 92 52 3 0 23
Old Belvedere 7 4 0 3 217 82 135 4 1 21
Blackrock 7 2 0 5 127 250 -123 3 0 11
Galwegians 7 1 1 5 100 253 -153 3 1 10
Highfield 7 1 1 5 72 211 -139 2 1 9
Tullamore 7 1 0 6 83 310 -227 2 1 7

Note: Railway Union v UL Bohemian rearranged to Sunday 26th November 13:00 Park Avenue.