It seems that no sooner has it started than the Women’s AIL League regular season is wrapping up and it’s been very much mixed fortunes for Ulster sides.
Cooke, for so long the premier Women’s side in Ulster, have finally lost their fight to stay in AIL League 1 following a 5 – 79 defeat by UL Bohs and while there will undoubtedly a few tears on Sunday their relegation to League 2 has to be looked at an opportunity to continue the rebuilding of their young squad with the pressure off.
Knowing the calibre of the girls at the club I’m sure it wont be long until they are knocking at the door for entry back into the top flight. The great failing for the club over the years has been their inability to sustain a development side and perhaps now the time is right for a merge with the likes of Malone.
While one door closes another opens and if I was a betting man I would be putting a few bob on Queens University replacing Cooke in the top flight.
It’s been an extraordinarily successful season for the students who finished the regular season with six wins out of six, scoring 256 points in the process and conceding only 29. This young side should be around for a few years to come and their hard tacking and free flowing brand of rugby is an absolute pleasure to watch. Credit must, of course, go to the girls but also to Robert Ford and Gareth Bronte who have put in place a sustainable model for strength and conditioning training which has allowed the players to perform to their full potential.
On Sunday Queens travelled to Westmanstown on the outskirts of Dublin to play the Garda and came away with a highly creditable 38 -7 win in this weeks featured match. Michelle Knurr reports:
It was a tough match between Garda and Queen’s to end the season.
Queens were quickly off the mark with two tries from Gemma McCutcheon and with Jemma Jackson converting both it seemed as though Queens were going to run away with the game. Garda managed to shore up their defence and hit back with a converted try of their own to take the score to 7 – 14 at the break
The third quarter was intense as both teams refused to back down but the deadlock was broken by Queens hooker Michelle Fiddis who broke through the Garda’s defense for a five pointer to take the score to 7 – 19.
It was enough to break the home sides resistance and Queens ran in another three tries by with McCutcheon crossing for her third, after a great run and offload from Catherine Mallon, and Aoife Walsh, and Jemma Jackson added one apiece. Jackson a converted two of those to give a final score of Garda 7 Queen’s University 38. Queens definitely proved themselves to be a true force to be reckoned with this season.
Queen’s now face AIL Division 2S League Champions Portlaoise RFC in a Promotion Play Off at Ashbourne Rugby Club on Sunday 25th November. KO 13:00.
In the other games at the weekend Enniskillen completed a successful season by moving into third place following their 7 – 45 points win against Cavan with the fixture moved to Mullaghmeen due to Cavan pitches being unplayable.
Unfortunately City of Derry failed to finish off the season on a winning note going down 0 – 20 at home to an improving Navan.