The Women’s All Ireland League reverts back to Sunday afternoon this weekend with the three games all kicking off at 13:00 on Sunday 7th October.
Unfortunately, in only the second week of competition, the League fixtures have been devalued by a late call up to training camp of all players involved with the Ireland Women’s Autumn Internationals. This more than likely means that the following teams will be missing the following numbers of key players – UL Bohemian (6), Railway Union (7), Old Belvedere (3), Galwegians, (4), St Mary’s (1).
For those of you not familiar with the women’s programme, yes, the Women’s senior club sides do have the same Club v Country issues as the men’s game. However with there being so few Women’s international fixtures and so few match weekends in the AIL it’s extraordinary that this is happening so early in the competition.
It all seems particularly unfair on, defending League Champions, UL Bohemian, who are forced to make their first appearance of the season, against Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road, minus half a dozen key players.
The full fixture list is below with our review of the games following.
|Sun 7th Oct 18||13:00||Galwegians||v||St Mary’s College||Crowley Park|
|Sun 7th Oct 18||13:00||Old Belvedere||v||U.L. Bohemian||Anglesea Road|
|Sun 7th Oct 18||13:00||Railway Union RFC||v||Cooke||St. Michael’s College|
Galwegians v St Mary’s College
It should be the first win of the season for one of these teams but which one?
St Mary’s suffered a heavy loss last week against a free flowing Railway side and Galwegians also shipped 40+ points to Blackrock 2.0, who have rebooted somewhat under the guidance of messianic Philip Doyle.
However Galwegians did score four tries of their own, picking up a try bonus point in their 42 – 22 defeat away to Rock, and under normal circumstances you would expect their firepower to see them through.
However, with Galwegians missing at least four key players, St Mary’s will see this as a chance to record a precious win in the league. It should be a tight one, but I still think that Galwegians will have too much up front for the visitors.
Old Belvedere v UL Bohemian
Poor old Bohs, they haven’t kicked a ball (or driven a maul) in anger yet and they go straight into the defence of their title with a season defining game, against fellow title contenders Old Belvedere, minus six key players.
However, the timing of this crucial fixture and the late withdrawals is the just sort of “D4 conspiracy” that this tight team thrive on and Bohs will have no problems getting up for this one. They will be determined to leave Dublin with all the points.
Belvo’s backs looked sharp in their six try win against Cooke, with the talismanic Nora Stapleton calling the shots, but the understrength Belfast side did cause them plenty of problems in the set piece so I expect the lean mean red machine to kick off their season with a narrow win.
Railway Union v Cooke
Cooke lost a few players to the “D4 Experience” just before the start of the season which left the Belfast side in disarray ahead of their game against Belvo. It certainly showed as Cooke shipped three tries in the first eight minutes. The home side did eventually find their shape and they were largely competitive until Belvo pulled away with three more tries in the final quarter.
However, Cooke showed little imagination in attack and despite Railway missing seven players, this is still going to be a tough game for the visitors. Cooke will need to be a lot less passive in defence and more united in attack if they are to cause an upset but I suspect Railway will be too strong across the pitch and the home side should win.