RAILWAY UNION 62 ST. MARY’S 0, Park Avenue

RAILWAY UNION MOVED back to the top of the Women’s All-Ireland League, taking advantage of UL Bohemians’ rest week as they put 10 tries past bottom side St Mary’s in a resounding 62-0 win at Park Avenue.

Despite solid defending from Mary’s early on, the floodgates opened after Meg Kendal had broken the deadlock in the 26th minute. Big tackles from Niamh Tester, captain Aoife Moore and Emma Lackey had kept Railway at bay until Kendal struck. Prop Chloe Blackmore followed her over the whitewash on the half hour mark and fellow youngster Aimee Clarke added try number three for a 19-0 half-time lead.

Mary’s fell victim to a number of knock-ons in the greasy conditions, although scrum half Emma Kiernan stood out for her breaking ability as she tested the home defence around the fringes. Yet, Kendal got the scoreboard moving again, grabbing her second try of the evening after a penalty given away by Kiernan, and John Cronin’s charges never looked back.

Braces from Daisy Earle and Emma Taylor, along with singles from 20-year-old Sevens talent Molly Scuffil-McCabe and Meaghan Kenny, completed the rout for Railway who hold a five-point lead over UL Bohemians ahead of their top-of-the-table clash at the University of Limerick in two weeks’ time.

OLD BELVEDERE 5 COOKE 0, Anglesea Road

Old Belvedere edged out Cooke 5-0 at Anglesea Road to return to winning ways and keep hold of third place. Winger Vanessa Hullon was released by Maria Kenny’s slick offload to score the game’s only try on her senior debut for Belvedere.

Cooke were left frustrated by their inability to convert possession into points, an early prolonged spell in the ‘Belvo 22 ending in a clearing penalty for the hosts. The Dubliners attacked from there and it was not long before Hullon touched down. The impressive youngster showed her footwork and pace to run in the decisive score after just 18 minutes.

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Cooke’s indiscipline, particularly at the breakdown, let them down, and as the second half got underway, Belvedere winger Alex Whyte made a fantastic last-ditch tackle to keep the Belfast outfit scoreless. Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony then made a 20-metre dash to advance to Cooke’s 22, but her supporting players went straight off their feet at the ruck and were duly punished by the referee.

Although ‘Belvo lock Clodagh Dunne saw yellow with 15 minutes remaining, her team-mates continued to deny Cooke with their well-organised defence. A well-timed poach from captain Fiona O’Brien eased the pressure on Josh Brown’s side, and when Dunne returned, she rose highest to steal a lineout and foil Cooke’s late hopes of a maul try.


Blackrock’s Ann Marie Rooney scored an impressive try. Source: Ben Whitley/INPHO

In-form Blackrock made it four wins on the trot with a 22-10 bonus point triumph on the road to Galwegians. Unconverted scores from Meadbh Scally and Ann-Marie Rooney, who scored from a sensational 70-metre break from a grubber through, cancelled out ‘Wegians number 8 Denise Redmond’s sixth try of the campaign.

Redmond’s clinically-taken score was richly deserved as the Blue Belles had dominated possession for the opening 10 minutes in Glenina. However, their head coach Fraser Gow said that they needed to build on that try sooner, admitting afterwards: “We knew Blackrock would respond to conceding so early but we need to be better on the other side of the ball, again letting in some very soft tries.”

After fourth-placed ‘Rock had foraged into a 10-5 lead, the teams shared possession between the two 22s until Ray Lawless grounded the visitors’ third try in the corner, running onto another well-timed kick. ‘Wegians closed the gap with a try from prop Elizabeth McKeever, only for ‘Rock to bag a clinching bonus point try through winger Ali Coleman’s darting run up the touchline.

Gow is hoping for better consistency from his side, who have fallen to sixth place ahead of their 9 February trip to fifth-placed Cooke. The Scotsman added: “In the second half, I thought we really upped our game defensively and if we had got the next score, the game would have changed.”

Just over a week out from the 2019 Six Nations openers, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey are joined by Bernard Jackman to look at Ireland’s bid for another Grand Slam:

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