Railway Union RFC Women claimed their first ever AIL League Championship after a hard fought 13 – 8 win against UL Bohemian RFC Women in their showpiece final at Donnybrook on Saturday afternoon.
UL Bohemian went into the final looking for their third successive League title and with a strong wind behind them they enjoyed the bulk of territory and possession throughout the first half.
Niamh Briggs opened the scoring with an early penalty and their lead was extended to eight points when Sarah Quin went over off the back of a dominant scrum towards the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter largely consisted of Bohs hammering at the Railway line but the Dublin side managed to hold out and, crucially, a late flourish saw Bohs prop Fiona Reidy yellow carded before her opposite number, Shirley Corcoran, battled over the line to take the score to 8 – 5 at the break.
Railway enjoyed the better of the game in the second half, with Meg Kendal prominent in a couple of breaks, before Claire Keohane leveled the game with a penalty. The Leinster side moved into the lead at the start of the final quarter following a searing break from Daisy Earl who sent Stephanie Carroll clear to cross in the corner. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 13 – 8 in Railway’s favour.
The Limerick side looked for a response but the Railway defence held firm. Boh’s winger, Eimear Considine, was their second player to be carded, following a deliberate knock on, with less than ten minutes to go, and the Dublin side went on to record their first ever League Championship win.
RAILWAY UNION: Larissa Muldoon, Stephanie Carroll, Niamh Byrne (c), Meg Kendal, Emer O’Mahony, Claire Keohane, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Shirley Corcoran, Chloe Blackmore, Katie O’Dwyer, Siobhan McCarthy, Aoife McDermott, Emma Murphy, Emma Taylor, Lindsay Peat. Replacements: Aimee Clarke, Lisa Callan, Sonia McDermott, Daisy Earle, Clare Coombes, Laura Barachetti, Erin Coll.
UL BOHEMIAN: Aine Staunton, Eimear Considine, Enya Breen, Rachel Allen-Connolly, Laura Sheehan, Niamh Briggs, Laura O’Mahony, Fiona Hayes (c), Kate Sheehan, Fiona Reidy, Claire Bennett, Chloe Pearse, Edel Murphy, Clodagh O’Halloran, Sarah Quin. Replacements: Sarah O’Gorman, Geena Behan, Sarah Garrett, Aoife O’Sullivan, Helen McDermott, Niamh Kavanagh, Stephanie Nunan.