2018-19 All Ireland League Women Club Rugby Women Railway Union RFC UL Bohemian RFC

Club Women: AIL Championship Final Preview

Arguably, the two best sides in Women’s Senior Rugby in recent seasons go head to head for the first time in the Senior Women’s AIL Championship Final at Donnybrook on Saturday afternoon as, defending Champions, UL Bohemian take on, the D4 pretenders, Railway Union in the Women’s showpiece final. Kick off 3:00pm.

Bohs progressed to the final via their normal route of finishing top of the League during the regular season to secure a home draw. They followed this up with a 20 – 0 win against Blackrock in the semi final. The mean lean red machine are eying a League and Cup double having picked up the AIL Cup back in March.

Railway’s league campaign trailed off somewhat towards the the end of the regular season and they recorded a third place finish. However, they quickly re-established their credentials with a big  7- 29 win against, local rivals, Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road. The Park Avenue side are also chasing their own double having picked up the AIL Shield having lost to Boh’s in the Cup in the earlier rounds.

That cup win by Boh’s tilted this season’s head to heads in their favour, with the Limerick side having two wins to Railway’s one. The Munster sides general, I suppose you would say, relentlessness in these big games tips the odds in their favour. We call them the mean lean red machine for a reason, they know how to win these season defining games and they do so on an alarmingly regular basis.

Railway, in comparison have struggled this season. Both sides lost a fair amount of players to the Ireland camps but it affected Railway more and they even had to hand a walk over to Galwegians in the latter rounds of the league. However, they appear to have regrouped well and, what could have been a cosmetic exercise, in their challenge match against  Wasps the week before their semi final against Old Belvedere, appears to have worked in their favour as they outmuscled Belvo the following week.

On form, Railway really do play a lovely style of rugby. They like it high tempo and they are encouraged to play what  is in front of them, making them very dangerous in open play. In fairness, so do Boh’s and their underrated full back Aine Staunton really is a lovely player to watch as she times her runs to join the line. However Boh’s also have the best boot in Ireland, in the talismanic Niamh Briggs, which gives them that extra dimension in their game.

Boh’s form throughout the season, plus their fantastic team spirit, points towards the Championship returning to Limerick for a third successive season. However, Railway are a very good side on their day and if they can get their heads in the right place they are more than capable of causing an upset.

I really don’t know what way this one is going to go but, rather than sit on the fence, we’ll tip Railway for the win. That’ll probably keep both side happy given our recent form of tipping Bohs to lose. 😯

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