There is no doubt what the big match of the weekend is in Round 5 of the Women’s All Ireland League as table toppers U.L. Bohemian travel to Dublin to play second place Railway Union on Saturday afternoon.
Only one point separates the teams, Bohs claiming a bonus point in every round and Railway “dropping” one against Old Belvedere. However, Railway lead the way in everything else with the lowest points against total and an extraordinary 261 points for, scoring an average of 65 points per game; as can be seen below in the current league standings.
It’s a strong looking Railway side with the talismanic Lindsay Pleat and the robust Cliodhna Moloney likely to lead the way up front. Their back row of Meg Kendal (Captain), Grainne Egan and Emma Taylor combine seamlessly with their talented backline making Railway one of the most complete teams out there. Ulster stars Larissa Muldoon and Nikki Caughey take up thier, now familiar roles, at out half and centre respectively, and with Ailsa Hughes calling the shots at scrum half it ‘s a back line that’s caused some damage this season.
However, U L Bohemian have been the dominant force in Women’s club rugby for the last couple of seasons and it’s no accident that they continue to get the results. Back row Anna Caplice has been in sensational form, following up on her dismantling of Cooke with a brace against Galwegians, and the team, as a whole, always seem to find a way to win.
It should be a great game and we’ll be down covering it. Railway have been pushing the women’s game to it’s limits his season and Saturday will give them a clear indication of their progress. I suspect they will get the result.
Our other featured game, of course, involves Cooke’s trip to Tullamore, meaning we get to cover all our favourite teams this weekend.
Cooke have been enjoying a comparatively successful season with only one slip up, against league leaders U.L. Bohemians, and they will be travelling in some confidence to Co, Offaly. They have built their team round the formidable Ilse van Staden, who’s had a sensational season up front, and with Jemma Jackson enjoying a new lease of life at scrumhalf they are able to field a back line that will worry quite a few teams in this league.
Having had a preview of their team sheet, this is perhaps the strongest back line they have fielded yet and I’m looking forward to see how their young wingers, Leah McGoldrick and Brittany Hogan, perform outside of internationals Eliza Downey and Claire McLaughlin.
You would expect Cooke to win this one with something to spare, as Tullamore have struggled to come to terms with the pace of this league, but the Belfast side have been vulnerable on the road before. However with one of the top two looking to drop points I suspect Cooke will remain firmly focused on making up some ground.
In the other two games of the round Galwegians should get out of the bottom two with a home win against Highfield and Old Belvedere should add to Blackrock’s woes with a home win against their near neighbours.
|Sat 21st Oct||Railway Union||v||U.L. Bohemian||Park Avenue|
|Sun 22nd Oct||Galwegians||v||Highfield||Crowley Park|
|Sun 22nd Oct||Old Belvedere||v||Blackrock||Anglesea Road|
|Sun 22nd Oct||Tullamore||v||Cooke||Spollanstown|