Matchday 4 of the Women’s AIL produced a lively contest between Blackrock and UL Bohemians on Saturday evening at a chilly Stradbrook Road which featured eleven tries to help keep the cold at bay.
Bohs were quickest out of the blocks and their forwards went about their business as effectively as usual, dictating the early pace and controlling possession and territory in the early exchanges.
Blackrock seemed to be caught somewhat cold and the visitors crossed after 8 minutes with a second try following swiftly on 14 mins and a third arriving on 20 mins. It took the visitors just 24 minutes to register the try bonus point, the fourth converted with the assistance of the upright to leave it 26-0 to the Limerick side.
Blackrock refused to drop the heads and actually managed to finish the first period slightly the stronger as Michelle Claffey pulled one back for the home side. Poor discipline from both sides marred the last 10 mins of the first half as a succession of penalties disrupted the flow of the game and resulted in a yellow card each. Bohs registered their 5th try in first half injury time to leave the score 33-7 in favour of the visitors at the break.
Some strong words from the Blackrock coaching team saw a significantly improved performance from the home side in the second half. Although Bohs pushed out to 40 points with a sixth try in the 46th minute, the Blackrock revival gathered steam as a penalty try in the 52nd minute for yet another high tackle was followed by a brace from Claffey in the 54th minute and again on the hour.
A 5th Rock try came in the 76 minute to make it 40-33 for Bohs but, despite throwing everything at the opposition, the home side could not quite land a final killer blow and Bohs were no doubt relieved to hear the final whistle as Rock pressed for the try that could have brought the scores level and salvaged a draw that would have seemed hardly credible at half-time.
Niamh Briggs provided a timely reminder of her enduring class, directing the backline with aplomb and delivering another first-class kicking exhibition off the ground and from the hand. Claffey was not far behind, her hat-trick of tries showcasing the pace, footwork and the eye for a gap of a natural finisher.
TRY: Michelle Claffey (3), Ellen Taite, Penalty Try. CON: Hannah O’Connor (3)
UL Bohemian Scorers.
TRY: Ciara Griffen (2), Eimear Considine, Rachael Allen, Fi Hayes, Chloe Pearse. CON: Niamh Briggs (5).
Pictures & report – JC Sports Photography