It’s a case of as you where after Week 11 in the Women’s All Ireland League with the top four teams all winning their fixtures against their bottom four opponents.
In fact, there was a disappointing gulf between the top four and the bottom four with the top four sides all recording a bonus point win, scoring a combined total of 171 points, the bottom four replying with a total of 10 points.
UL Bohemian led the way at the top of the league with a resounding 5 – 53 win against Galwegians in a fixture that was switched to Limerick due to weather conditions in Galway.
Aine Staunton and Laura Sheehan both recorded three tries each for Bohs with Gill Bourke, Edel Murphy and Erin Coll also crossing in the nine try romp.
The bonus point win keeps Bohs five points clear at the top of the league.
Nearest rivals Railway Union ran in eight tries in their 48 – 0 defeat of Blackrock at Park Avenue with Railway benefiting from the return of Larissa Muldoon and Sinead Taylor.
Railway’s tries came from Niamh Byrne (2), Emma Taylor, Aoife Maher, Siobhan McCarthy, Sinead Taylor, Meaghan Kenny and Emer O’Mahony with Taylor adding four conversions.
The win keeps Railway in second place nine points clear of Old Belvedere in third.
Old Belvedere have a game in hand on Railway and they kept up the pressure for second place, and a home tie in the playoffs, with a five try 36 – 0 win against Tullamore.
Belvo’s tries came from Elise O’Byrne-White (2), Steph Barman, Jane O’Neill and a penalty try and the Dublin aristocrats will have a comparatively busy February as they play their refix match against Blackrock on Thursday 8th February before their scheduled league match against Railway on 17th.
Cooke completed the top four rout with a 34 – 5 win against Highfield at Shaws Bridge.
Jemma Jackson’s kicking and Ilse van Staden’s abrasive running kept Cooke on the front foot throughout the first half with Jackson picking up three penalties and van Staden a try before the break. Van Staden added a second try with Emma Jordan, Vicky Irwin and Dolores Hughes all crossing in the second half before Ciara O’Dwyer replied for Highfield.
Cooke could possibly be considered the big winners this season with a top four finish and a place in the end of season play offs practically confirmed.
We caught up with Cooke’s Joe McTaggart after the game to get his view on the season to date.
The league loses quite a bit of impetus now with the last three rounds played over the next three months. However, most of the clubs will be in action next week in the All Ireland Cup which we’ll preview at the end of the week.