With the Women’s All Ireland League set to resume this coming weekend we have a look at who’s been doing what as the teams prepare to go into the business end of the season.

The refixed fixture between St Mary’s College and Blackrock College went ahead on the 5th January with Blackrock recording a 12 – 64 win at Templeville Road. This leaves the league as follows.

Current Standings
Team P W D L F A Dif TB LB PTS
U.L. Bohemian 8 6 0 2 238 130 108 4 1 30
Railway Union RFC 8 6 0 2 190 88 102 4 2 30
Old Belvedere 8 5 0 3 168 79 89 2 2 24
Blackrock 7 4 0 3 193 135 58 3 1 20
Galwegians 7 3 0 4 158 146 12 3 1 16
Cooke 8 3 0 5 110 152 -42 3 1 16
St Mary’s College 8 0 0 8 29 356 -327 0 0 -2

 

Home or Away?

Looking at the results in terms of points picked up at home and away we get the following. (The percentages are calculated as a % of a maximum of 5 points per match)

Team WK01 WK02 WK03 WK04 WK05 WK06 WK07 WK08 WK09 H A T
U.L. Bohemian NF AW HWB AWB ALBB AL AWB WOW HW 93% 64% 75%
Railway Union RFC AWB HWB NF AW HWB HWB HLB ALB AW 80% 70% 75%
Old Belvedere AWB HLB HW AWB HLB NF AW HW AL 50% 70% 60%
Blackrock HWB NF AL HLBB AL AWB AW HW NF 73% 45% 57%
Galwegians ALB HWB AL HLB AW HL NF NF AWB 40% 50% 46%
Cooke HL AL AWB NF HWB AWB HL AL HLB 30% 50% 40%
St Mary’s College HL AL HL HL NF HL HL WOL HL 0% -20% -6%

Key: AL – Away Loss, ALB – Away Loss with Bonus, AW – Away Win, AWB – Away Win with Bonus Point, HL – Home Loss, HLB- Home Loss with Bonus, BB – Try and Losing Bonus awarded, NF – No Fixture, WOW – Walk Over Win (awarded 5 pts) WOL – Walk Over Loss (deducted 2 pts). 

With the play off method in place for deciding the AIL champions in this competition, finishing top of the league at the end of the regular season may only be a fleeting accolade, however the teams still see it as an important advantage going into the play offs.

With five rounds still to be played everyone down to Cooke have a mathematical chance of finishing the regular season at the top of the pile but the realistic options appear to be between UL Bohs and Railway.

UL Boh’s are the only team undefeated at home this season, failing to pick up five points in only one of their three home game (note one home game was a walk over win against St Mary’s) and with three of their four remaining fixtures at home they must be favourites to finish top of the table at the end of the season.

Railway Union lost one game at home, though they did pick up a losing bonus, but their impressive away form of 70% has kept them level with their rivals Bohs.  Their league season will be defined in February when they travel to Bohs and Rock in back to back matches but with that 70% points haul on the road they will travel with confidence.

Current Form

Discounting the non fixtures and only looking at games where match points were awarded, the current form of the teams is as follows.

Last Five Played Form
Railway Union RFC HWB HWB HLB ALB AW 64%
U.L. Bohemian ALBB AL AWB WOW HW 64%
Blackrock HLBB AL AWB AW HW 60%
Old Belvedere AWB HLB AW HW AL 56%
Cooke HWB AWB HL AL HLB 44%
Galwegians AL HLB AW HL AWB 40%
St Mary’s College HL HL HL WOL HL -8%

 

With the bulk of the above results picked up during preparations for the November International fixtures the above form is probably a more realistic representation of how the teams are performing without their international players which is likely how the next three rounds are going to be played.

Old Belvedere will be looking over their shoulder at Blackrock who look well set to make a push for third place. In fact Blackrock and Cooke are the only two sides who show a higher points pick up over the last five games than they do for the full season. Blackrock’s return of 60% moves them into third place on current form and Cooke’s 44% return moves them up to 5th. However the Ulster club will need to show a points return well above this rate if they are to make a serious challenge for the top four.

Who’s been doing what?

Top Points Scorers

Name Club Try Con Pen DG Tot
Niamh Briggs UL Bohemian 4 20 3 0 69
Denise Redmond Galwegians 5 9 3 0 52
Hannah O’Connor Blackrock 1 11 5 0 42

 

There are three players out in front for points scored with UL Bohemian’s Niamh Briggs leading the way. Brigg’s has, unsurprisingly, dominated UL Bohs kicking duties and has a 67% conversion rate.

Denise Redmond’s five tries keep her in the hunt but with Galwegians having a 48% conversion rate she will need to find a few more off the tee if she is to challenge Briggs at the end of the season.

Hannah O’Connor has kept Blackrock’s scoreboard ticking over with five penalties, the most in the league, and her points tally is impressive given she has shared kicking duties with Jackie Shields, the pair having the second highest conversion rate in the league with a 68% conversion rate.

St Mary’s have the best conversion rate of all clubs at 75%. Unfortunately, the Templeville Road side haven’t scored enough tries to get their kickers Jet Duinmeijer and Shayne Richardson into the upper end of the table. 

Top Try Scorers.

Name Club Try
Linda Djougang Old Belvedere 6
Michelle Claffey Blackrock 5
Denise Redmond Galwegians 5
Gemma Matthews Old Belvedere 5
Niamh Byrne Railway Union 5
Susan Vaughan Railway Union 5
Chloe Pearse UL Bohemian 5

 

Old Belvedere’s Linda Djougang leads the way with 6 tries in thier 8 games showing the sort of form that saw her selected for the trials game against Wales at the weekend, as was Blackrock’s Michelle Claffey who is hot on Djougang’s heels with five tries so far this season.

The rest of the AIL leading scorers have largely been overlooked by the Ireland selectors and Denise Redmond, Gemma Matthews, Niamh Byrne, Susan Vaughn and Chloe Pearse should look at the next three games as an opportunity to get a few tries in the bag while Djougang and Claffey are busy on Ireland duty.

The FRU Players Player

The teams have been nominating their opposition’s player of the game throughout this series and the leading nominees are shown below.

Player Club Votes
Emma Taylor Railway Union 4
Beth Cregan Cooke 3
Jet Duinmeijer St Marys 3
Niamh Griffin Blackrock 2
Ali Coleman Blackrock 2
Kelly McCormill Cooke 2
Linda Djougang Old Belvedere 2
Claire Keohan Railway Union 2
Ciara Scanlan St Marys 2
Claire Bennett UL Bohemian 2

 

Everyone’s favourite Canadian, Railway Union’s Emma Taylor, leads the way with four nominations so far this season but Cooke’s unsung hero Beth Cregan and St Mary’s Jet Duinmeijer, who arrived this season from the Netherlands, are hot on her heels with three nominations each. 

Behind the top three are another seven players with two nominations including Belvo’s Linda Djougang and Railway’s Claire Keohan, the only two of our top ten nominations to be included in last weekend’s extended Ireland squad.

Team Stats

You can view the individual team stats by clicking the appropriate team below.

UL Bohemian Detailed Stats
UL Bohemian Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 238* 30 1
Tries Scored 30 3.8 2
Conversions Scored 20 (67%) 2.5 1
Penalties and Drop Goals 4 0.5 2
Points Conceded 130 16 5
Home Match Points Return (3) 93% 4.7 1
Away Match Points Return (5) 64% 2.8 3
All Match Points Return (8) 75% 3.8 = 1

*Awarded 36 points for walk over win against St Mary’s 

“Boring Old Bohs”, at it again – always winning! Well not quite this season, the mean lean red machine hasn’t moved as smoothly through the gears as they would like a couple of times on the road, but those two defeats are not going to unduly worry this most team like of teams.

They are the second highest try scorers in the league and it’s likely if the conceded game against St Mary’s had went ahead they would be leading that category as well. Even if we discount the 36 points they were awarded for that conceded game they would still be the leading scorers and that’s largely due to the prolific boot of Irish Legend Niamh Briggs who had landed the most conversions.

As the strongest team of recent years they always seem to me to be underrepresented in the international set up and they only had five players involved in last weekend’s trials match.  They now have Briggs back full time and she seems to be really enjoying her club rugby after a couple of seasons wracked with injuries. Their wonderful team ethos and a comparatively simple game plan allows them to absorb new players effortlessly.

Their one minor concern is the number of points they have conceded. While their total points against is the fifth highest (or the third least) they will not be happy with conceding an average of 16 points per game. However, as the only team undefeated at home they will be reasonably confident of staying on top if they can maintain that impressive home record.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Niamh Briggs UL Bohemian 4 20 3 0 69
Points Awarded W/O UL Bohemian 0 0 12 0 36
Chloe Pearse UL Bohemian 5 0 0 0 25
Fiona Hayes UL Bohemian 4 0 0 0 20
Emiear Considine UL Bohemian 4 0 0 0 20
Ciara Griffin UL Bohemian 2 0 0 0 10
Rachael Allen-Connelly UL Bohemian 2 0 0 0 10
Sarah Quinn UL Bohemian 2 0 0 0 10
Claire Bennett UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Enya Breen UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Fiona Reedy UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Rachel O’Brien UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Roise Newton UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Nicole Cronin UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Stephanie Nunan UL Bohemian 1 0 0 0 5
Edel Murphy UL Bohemian 0 0 1 0 3
Totals 16 30 20 16 0 238
Railway Union Detailed Stats
Railway Union Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 190 24 3
Tries Scored 31 3.9 1
Conversions Scored 13 (42%) 1.6 3
Penalties and Drop Goals 3 0.4 = 3
Points Conceded 88 11 6
Home Match Points Return (4) 80% 4.0 2
Away Match Points Return (4) 70% 3.5 =1
All Match Points Return (8) 75% 3.8 =1

 

Railway Union are the league’s leading try scorers and they have the second least points against but there is a fair chance they would be sitting clear at the top if they hadn’t lost the services of their main kicker Nicky Caughey. Their conversion rate of 42% has seen them leave a few points on the pitch.

A few narrow losses to the D4 Aristo’s from down the road won’t have gone down well with the Park Avenue Proletariat  but my guess is they will be more worried about losing 10 – 12 players to the Ireland Women’s XV and 7’s teams in a season where they are already stretched with injuries.

They prefer to play a high tempo attacking game and they have moved a few players round to increase the pace up front. Bringing new players into this environment takes a little more time. If they click, they can beat anyone but if they don’t their forwards can be overpowered.

It’ll be a testing time for their strength in depth but they should have enough in the bank to come out the other side of March with thier playoff hopes intact.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Niamh Byrne Railway Union 5 0 0 0 25
Susan Vaughan Railway Union 5 0 0 0 25
Emma Taylor Railway Union 4 0 0 0 20
Nikki Caughey Railway Union 0 7 2 0 20
Claire Keohan Railway Union 1 5 1 0 18
Larissa Muldoon Railway Union 3 0 0 0 15
Ailsa Hughes Railway Union 2 0 0 0 10
Juliet Short Railway Union 2 0 0 0 10
Stephanie Carroll Railway Union 2 0 0 0 10
Katelyn Faust Railway Union 1 1 0 0 7
Aoife McDermott Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Emer O’Mahoney Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Garazi Goikolea Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Melissa Slevin Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Claire Boyles Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Sinead Taylor Railway Union 1 0 0 0 5
Totals 16 31 13 3 0 190
Old Belvedere Detailed Stats
Old Belvedere Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 168 21 3
Tries Scored 28 3.5 =3
Conversions Scored 11 (39%) 1.4 5
Penalties and Drop Goals 2 0.3 5
Points Conceded 79 9.9 1
Home Match Points Return (4) 50% 2.5 4
Away Match Points Return (4) 70% 3.5 =1
All Match Points Return (8) 60% 3.0 3

 

The Grand Old Dames of Irish Women’s rugby will be keen to reclaim their spot at the top of the women’s game , and they will want to do it playing a stylish brand of rugby. They have shown a hard edge this season, with the best defensive record in the league, and, top try scorer, Linda Djougang has led the way up front.

However they won’t be happy with a 50% points return at home and their conversion percentage of 39% has left quite a few points on the pitch. With eight players involved in last weekend’s trial match they may suffer over the Six Nations window as it’s not as settled a squad as the top two sides.

To me they are the most vulnerable of the current top four sides. Blackrock are snapping at their heels for third place, but it would take a concerted charge from Galwegians or Cooke to knock them out of the top four. If they maintain their top four spot and their big names return unscathed from the Six Nations I can equally easily see them win the play offs!

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Linda Djougang Old Belvedere 6 0 0 0 30
Gemma Matthews Old Belvedere 5 0 0 0 25
Jemma Jackson Old Belvedere 1 6 2 0 23
Elise O’Byrne White Old Belvedere 4 0 0 0 20
Fiona Tuite Old Belvedere 3 0 0 0 15
Ailbhe Dowling Old Belvedere 1 5 0 0 15
Megan Williams Old Belvedere 2 0 0 0 10
Amber Redmond Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Claire McLaughlin Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Grace Miller Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Nora Stapleton Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Rachel Healy Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Sene Naoupu Old Belvedere 1 0 0 0 5
Totals 13 28 11 2 0 168
Blackrock College Detailed Stats
Blackrock Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 193 28 2
Tries Scored 28 4 =3
Conversions Scored 19 (68%) 2.7 2
Penalties and Drop Goals 5 0.7 1
Points Conceded 135 19 4
Home Match Points Return (3) 73% 3.7 3
Away Match Points Return (4) 45% 2.3 6
All Match Points Return (7) 57% 2.9 4

 

It’s been a down and up season so far for Blackrock. An opening day win was followed by three defeats but they have since bounced back with three wins. They are also one of two teams that have already had their two “non – fixture” weekends and they also had to play a rearranged fixture, against St Mary’s, at the beginning of January thanks to referee availability.

Taking all this into consideration, they should go into their final five fixtures with a degree of confidence given that  three of those games are at home and they have a 73% points return at Stradbrook. Under normal circumstances you would also think that an average pick up of 2.3 match points per game on the road was pretty good but their 45% return is only 6th out of the seven sides.

Despite playing a game less than the teams above them, they have the second highest points scored total and that has been boosted by the prolific boots of Hannah O’Connor and Jackie Shields who at 68% have the highest conversion rate in the league. Their main concern will be that their top two points scorers, O’Connor and Michelle Claffey, were involved at the weekend with the Irish camp so their availability may be an issue over the next six weeks.

However I’d be surprised if Goose hasn’t planned for such contingencies and Rock will have their eyes on a top three finish.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Hannah O’Connor Blackrock 1 11 5 0 42
Michelle Claffey Blackrock 5 0 0 0 25
Ali Coleman Blackrock 4 0 0 0 20
Jackie Sheilds Blackrock 1 7 0 0 19
Ray Lawless Blackrock 3 0 0 0 15
Roisin Crowe Blackrock 3 0 0 0 15
Ellen Taite Blackrock 2 0 0 0 10
Meadbh Scally Blackrock 2 0 0 0 10
Penalty Try Blackrock 1 1 0 0 7
Ann-Maris Rooney Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Caoimhe Molloy Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Eimear Corri Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Laura Delaney Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Meadhbh O’Callaghan Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Niamh Griffin Blackrock 1 0 0 0 5
Totals 15 28 19 5 0 193
Galwegians Detailed Stats
Galwegians Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 158 23 5
Tries Scored 25 3.6 5
Conversions Scored 12 (48%) 1.7 4
Penalties and Drop Goals 3 0.4 =3
Points Conceded 146 21 3
Home Match Points Return (3) 40% 2.0 5
Away Match Points Return (4)  50% 2.5 =5
All Match Points Return (7) 46% 2.3 5

 

Galwegians are the other side who have only competed seven games so far this season but they will want to improve their 40% points return at Crowley Park if they are to make their remaining three home games coun as the base for their charge for a top four place.

They are just outside the top four for tries and total points but they have the third highest total for points conceded and shoring up their defence is likely where they will reap most reward. Their conversion rate is far from the worst, but at 48%, over their three kickers, it is also an area where they could look for improvement.

The Connacht outfit look like they will be losing four players to Ireland duty and this could impact them more than the teams above them, but the availability of the prolific Denise Redmond may be enough to see them over the line in a few tight games and if they also tighten up their defence a push for a top four finish is far from unrealistic.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Denise Redmond Galwegians 5 9 3 0 52
Ina Butler Galwegians 3 1 0 0 17
Emma Doyle Galwegians 3 0 0 0 15
Orla Dixon Galwegians 3 0 0 0 15
Ursula Sammon Galwegians 2 0 0 0 10
Fiona Scally Galwegians 2 0 0 0 10
Edel McMahon Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Edel Murray Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Laura Feely Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Lisa Anglim Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Shannon Tuohy Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
SJ Fox Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Elizabeth McKeever Galwegians 1 0 0 0 5
Nicole Fowley Galwegians 0 2 0 0 4
Totals 14 25 12 3 0 158
Cooke Detailed Stats
Cooke Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 110 14 6
Tries Scored 19 2.4 6
Conversions Scored 6 (32%) 0.8 6
Penalties and Drop Goals 1 0.1 =6
Points Conceded 152 19 2
Home Match Points Return (4) 30% 1.5 6
Away Match Points Return (4) 50% 2.5 =5
All Match Points Return (8) 40% 2 6

 

Looking at the above stats, for Cooke, sixth place is where they should be and indeed sixth place is where they are at. They are not scoring enough tries, they are letting far too many in and when they do score they are not maximising their points, with the lowest conversion rate in the league.

However, despite losing a handful of key players during the preseason, they are not that far off the pace but they really need to work on that defence and a few more forwards need to put their hands up and take the load of Ilse Van Staden.

While often the authors of their own misfortune, they can justifiably feel some resentment that they are the only side in the AIL without a single player in the Ireland set up, but, if they want that to change they have to channel that resentment in a positive manner, turn Shawsbridge into a fortress, and pick up a few more wins.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Ilse Van Staden Cooke 4 0 0 0 20
Eliza Downey Cooke 3 0 0 0 15
Hannah Kilgore Cooke 3 0 0 0 15
Kelly McCormill Cooke 3 0 0 0 15
Vicky Irwin Cooke 0 6 1 0 15
Lauren Pedlow Cooke 2 0 0 0 10
Beth Cregan Cooke 1 0 0 0 5
Claire Johnston Cooke 1 0 0 0 5
Pieta McAlister Cooke 1 0 0 0 5
Shannon Heapes Cooke 1 0 0 0 5
Total 10 19 6 1 0 110
St Mary's College Detailed Stats
Cooke Total Per Match  Rank
Points Scored 29 4 7
Tries Scored 4 0.5 7
Conversions Scored 3 (75%) 0.4 7
Penalties and Drop Goals 1 0.1 =6
Points Conceded 356* 45 1

 

It’s been a difficult return to the AIL for St Mary’s College who lost the truly world class Paula Fitzpatrick and, fellow international, Orla Fitzsimons over the summer. Two big players to lose.

However in Jet Duinmeijer they have unearthed a gem and their focus for the remainder of the season has to be to get as much experience under their belts as they can while working on their defence and improving their accuracy in the red zone when they are on the attack.

They have created more chances than their four try haul would indicate and, while it is difficult to remain focused when on the wrong end of the scoreboard, they still have the chance to turn this season into a solid building block for next seasons campaign.

Player Club T C P DG Tot
Jet Duinmeijer St Marys 0 2 1 0 7
Ciara Scanaln St Marys 1 0 0 0 5
Emma Lacky St Marys 1 0 0 0 5
Heather Cary St Marys 1 0 0 0 5
Meagan Parkinson St Marys 1 0 0 0 5
Shayne Richardson St Marys 0 1 0 0 2
Total 6 4 3 1 0 29

 

#SUFTUM