A spectacular second-half performance from Railway Union saw them claim the IRFU Women’s All-Ireland Cup following a comprehensive 33-3 victory over UL Bohemians, the defending cup champions and league leaders at Dubarry Park on Saturday.
Bohemians opened the scoring with an Áine Staunton penalty and were well in the game at half-time before being swamped by the movement, power and precision of the Railway side. John Cronin’s charges were held up twice over the line as they went in search of the opening try.
Eventually, influential number 8 Emma Taylor got over the whitewash and Ireland 15s and Sevens international Nikki Caughey converted for a 7-3 interval lead.
The second half was all oneway traffic as Railway Union steamrolled their way to the cup title. They powered forward at every opportunity and their back-line, marshalled by Caughey and Larissa Muldoon, looked dangerous with ball in hand. Winger Emer O’Mahony was next on the scoresheet and she was followed over the line by teenage replacement Daisy Earle.
When Ireland Sevens starlet Chloe Blackmore, who showed her attacking abilities from full-back, added another touchdown, there was no way back for Bohemians. Niamh Byrne put the icing on the cake for the Dubliners with a late fifth try, and the surefooted Caughey added her fourth conversion to seal a 30-point winning margin.
Meanwhile, in the All-Ireland Plate decider, Blackrock produced a powerful display to overcome a strong St Mary’s team 29-19.
Three well-struck penalties from Hannah O’Connor gave ‘Rock a 14-5 half-time lead, with the sides swapping earlier tries.
Driven on by Ireland star Paula Fitzpatrick, Mary’s battled right to the end, but O’Connor claimed the game’s crucial try in the third quarter, opening up a 14-point advantage.
Further good work by captain Michelle Claffey, a recent Ireland new cap, saw her break through midfield to tee up O’Connor’s second five-pointer. Alix Doyle’s lineout steal then set up the clinching score from Ray Lawless as ‘Rock proudly took home some prized All-Ireland silverware.
Speedy winger Clodagh Hanniffy got among the tries as Tullamore lifted the All-Ireland Shield courtesy of a 21-0 victory over a gallant Rathdrum side, while Old Belvedere climbed into second spot in the All-Ireland League table thanks to their 26-10 bonus point success away to relegation-threatened Galwegians.
Munster’s Ellen Murphy was excellent at out-half for Belvedere, scoring an intercept try in the second half and exerting tactical control with the boot.
New Zealand star Kayla Ahki and Océane Plet touched down for ‘Wegians, but efforts from Linda Djougang, in the first half, and Niamh Ni Dhroma and Grace Miller had Belvedere out of reach.
The visitors’ back-three of Maria Kenny, Clodagh Dunne and Alex Whyte impressed as a counter-attacking unit.
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