It was an interesting week in the Women’s All Ireland League with a couple of shock results leading to some dramatic changes in the table.
The first match of the weekend pitched first placed and undefeated UL Bohemian up against Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road on Saturday evening.
We’ve had a bit of fun this season with the Boh’s players as we predicted their downfall, all too regularly, only for the old heads down in Limerick to pull another win out of the bag, their recent win against Railway at Park Avenue a case in point. With this in mind there was no way I was going to bet against them this weekend despite one of our sponsored players telling me that the “old heads” at Belvo would beat the “old heads” at Bohs with a private bet ensuing.
Well, I now have to call that player the Queen of Women’s Rugby for the next week as it was the old heads at Belvo who came out on top 19 – 0 inflicting the first defeat of the season on Bohemians.
Belvo’s Nora Stapleton, Sophie Spence and Jenny Murphy restored Leinster pride, following their Interpro defeat by Munster, aided by Ulster’s Kathryn Dane who had a stand out game. All the points came in the first half with Spence crossing for a brace and Stephanie Barman crossing for the third, Stapleton added two conversions.
Old Belvedere consolidate their spot in third place in the AIL, nine points behind UL Bohemian who slip to second place, behind Railway Union, on points difference.
Cooke were the other top four side to suffer a surprise defeat with the Belfast team travelling to Galway to get turned over by Galwegians 22 – 12. Galwegians’ form has been a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside a few WTF moments this season as they have bumbled through what can only be regarded as a poor season given the strength of their panel.
Cooke had shown good form, and were playing some nice rugby, until they came up against Railway Union in the back to back matches. Those two comprehensive defeats saw Cooke slip from third to fourth in the league and in the intervening period they have shaken up their management team that appeared to be doing a fine job.
The Belfast side have often displayed the ability to self destruct mid season and in this game they certainly contributed to Galwegians revival despite taking a 10 – 12 lead at the break thanks to tries from Brittany Hogan and Gemma McCutcheon, Galwegians replying with two from Ciara O’Connor.
Galwegians went on to dominate the second half, with tries from Edel McMahon and Shannon Lane giving them the win.
The season can still go either way for both these teams. Hopefully it’s only a blip for Cooke and it’s a long overdue return to form for the Westies as women’s rugby in Ireland needs a strong presence in both Ulster and Connacht.
We’ve covered the two other matches here WAIL: Blackrock 23 Tullamore 22 and here WAIL: Railway Union 67 Highfield 0 with Railway’s win seeing them reclaim top spot in the AIL at the end of Week 9 albeit on points difference.
All this leaves the table as follows after Week 9.
|Railway Union RFC||9||8||0||1||433||50||383||7||0||39|