The Women’s All Ireland Championship semi finals took place on Saturday afternoon with Old Belvedere and UL Bohemian progressing to the final next Saturday. The results from the two matches are as follows
Railway Union 7 Old Belvedere 10.
We’d strongly tipped Railway to progress in this one – as some of the Bohs players liked to remind me when the result made its way to Limerick! However, the class of Nora Stapleton, still the most influential player in the league, made the difference with her composure and her boot making the difference in a game where Belvo were largely under the cosh.
Old Belvedere’s Ailbhe Dowling scored the opening try, converted by Stapleton, in a first half largely controlled by Railway Union. However, the home side fluffed their lines under the pressure of a resolute Belvo defence and the visitors took their 0 – 7 lead into the break.
Railway found their way over the line in the second half with Larissa Muldoon crossing and Nikki Caughey converting but a late penalty from Stapleton, with seven minutes to go, claimed the match for Blevo and cued much celebration at the final whistle.
UL Bohemian 58 Cooke 8.
It was a much depleted Cooke that made the journey to Limerick on Saturday afternoon and their hosts quickly put them to the sword in a ten try rout!
Boh’s had wheeled out all their big guns for this one and, despite Cooke taking an early lead through a Vicky Irwin penalty, the home team quickly put the game to bed – scoring seven tries in a one sided first half. Laura Sheehan opened the scoring to be quickly followed by Nicole Cronin (2), Aine Staunton, Clodagh O’Halloran, Niamh Briggs and Ciara Griffin. Briggs added three conversions to give Bohs a 41 – 3 lead at the break.
By this stage Cooke were down to 14 players after losing Lesley Megarity to injury and, with many players playing out of position, their cause wasn’t helped when they went down to 13 players when Sarah Gibson limped off.
Despite this, the second half was a much more competitive affair, though Boh’s hadn’t quite finished scoring.
Ciara Griffin and Laura Sheehan both crossed for a second time either side of a Laura O’Mahony try, converted by Edel Murphy, before Cooke finally hit their straps with an impressive final quarter.
Playing for nothing but pride, Cooke pounded the Boh’s line for a sustained period before youngster Megan Simpson crashed over for a late try in only her second game in the AIL. It was some reward for Cooke who also featured AIL debutant Caitlin Fisher in their starting XV.
UL Bohemian and Old Belvedere will now meet on Saturday 21st to decide the Women’s AIL Championship for 2018. At the time of writing the venue is still to be decided.
Pictures from both games in the galleries below.