The Women’s All Ireland League returns this weekend, after a rest week, with a full set of fixtures and the way things have panned out it’s a case of the top four taking on the bottom four in what should be another interesting week.
As a reminder of how things have gone to date we’ve reproduced the current league table below. UL Bohemians and Railway Union are leading the charge, both unbeaten, with U.L. Bohs at the top by virtue of an extra try bonus point. Our Belfast girls at Cooke are in third place with two wins and below them are four sides who have each recorded a win each. League newcomers, Tullamore, are still to record a win.
It’s difficult to see Tullamore recording that first win this weekend when they face a rejuvenated Old Belvedere in the first fixture of the weekend on Saturday evening. Belvo should have their Ireland XV’s players available and it could be another difficult evening in Dublin for the immensely likeable Tullamore crowd. Their day will come but unfortunately this weekend won’t be it.
Blackrock will fancy their chances against near neighbours Railway Union who have lost twelve players to the Ireland 7’s camp this weekend. However, having a look at Railway’s team sheet they can still field a formidable side, The magnificent Lindsay Peat returns to the side this weekend and she will be joined in the starting line up by Susan Vaughan and Ciara Cooney. Loosehead prop Shirley Corcoran joins Peat in the front row for the first time this season. Captain Meg Kendal told The FRU:
We are feeling refreshed after a weekend off following our first three games. Whilst we’ve some changes to the squad this week as the girls prepare for Dubai 7’s, we had planned for it and we are confident that there’ll be no drop in standards.
We have trained very well over the last two weeks and we can’t wait to get out there on Sunday.
We’re pleased to see that Railway are continuing to use Ulster players Larissa Muldoon at 10 and Nikki Caughey at 12 for the fourth game in a row. From what we’ve seen, it’s been a new lease of life for both of them and I look forward to seeing them join the Ulster camp shortly. Their inclusion in these positions, in combination with Ailsa Hughes at scrum half and Vaughan in the centre, gives Railway a fantastic passing range which should see them record their fourth win on the trot.
Our featured match this week will, of course, be our Cookies and their trip to Highfield in Cork. The corresponding fixture last season is where it all started to go wrong for the Belfast side when a lacklustre display saw them turned over by a determined Highfield. It was a display that saw me stomping off to my car at the final whistle and I spent the next five hours effing and blinding all the way back up the road to Larne 🙂 🙂 😯
Highfield recorded their first win in round three with a hard fought victory away to Tullamore and Cooke suffered their first defeat, in the same round, when they were caught cold by those wily old foxes at UL Bohs, who won the game in the first fifteen minutes. It’s an important game for both teams who each go into the match with something prove.
However, running down the Cooke team sheet, it looks like a strong side that will be making the journey and there is some big talent on the bench with Eliza Downey making her return from injury and Gemma McCutcheon being rotated. McCutcheon is our star player for Cooke so far this season and she’ll add some combativeness up front should she be called upon. Captain Beth Cregan is confident Cooke will get their season back on track:
We were slow to start last time out against UL Bohs but we have trained well during our week off and we know we will have to put it up to Highfield from the start.
It’s always a tough match, and they will be on a high after recording their first win, but we’ve got a strong team and a good bench and we’re determined to make the long journey back to Belfast with a win in the bag.
The final game of the round sees UL Bohemian entertain Galwegians at their Annacotty pitches in Limerick. Top of the table Bohs would be clear favourites against a Galwegians side that have got off to a surprisingly disappointing start this season.
However Galwegians showed a return to form with a win against Blackrock in the last round and I think this will be a close one with the home side just edging it.
Weekend fixtures below:
|Sat 14th Oct||Old Belvedere||v||Tullamore||Anglesea Road|
|Sun 15th Oct||Blackrock||v||Railway Union RFC||Stradbrook|
|Sun 15th Oct||Highfield||v||Cooke||Woodleigh Park|
|Sun 15th Oct||U.L. Bohemian||v||Galwegians||Annacotty|