Malone welcomed, league champions, Railway Union to Gibson Park on Saturday afternoon for a women’s Energia AIL match. The visitors had to dig deep to overcome the young home side but they eventually showed their pedigree to return to Dublin with all the points.
Railway applied the early pressure with wing Cliodhna O’Connor prominent before finally finding the line out wide for the opening score.
However, Malone hit back fairly sharply with speedster fullback Holly Brannigan running one in from the half way line. Alexa Grudgings added the extras to give Malone a 7 – 5 lead.
The visitors responded with Meg Kendal and Ailsa Hughes to the fore and Hughes was next to cross for Railway after finishing off a strong run from Kendal. The roles were reversed shortly after when Hughes broke from deep only to be hauled down by Brannigan, just short of the line. However, the ball was recycled quickly and sent to the right for Kendal to round the defence for their third try.
Unfortunately for Railway, the influential Kendall went off shortly after, due to injury, and with Malone’s young centre pairing of Olivia Andrews and Fern Wilson starting to punch holes in midfield the experienced Ella Durkan took advantage of the space out wide to charge down the wing with Brannigan in support. A delightful cross field kick from Durkan was chased down by Brannigan, for her second try, to pull the score back to 12 -15 as the teams changed ends.
Railway were first to score in the second half, hooker Lisa Callan crossing for her third try in three games. And while Callan’s try gave Railway the try bonus point they still had a bit of work to do to secure the game as Malone’s veteran Lauren Maginnes crashed over for the home sides third. Grudgings added the extras to make it a one point game at 19 – 20.
The defending champions showed their pedigree over the remainder of the game, running in three more tries as Emer O’Mahoney, Deirdre Roberts and Aoife Doyle all crossed as Malone struggled to get thier hands on the ball. Christine Coffey converted one to give a final score of Malone 19 Railway 37.
Malone: 15. Holly Brannigan, 14. Ella Durkan, 13. Olivia Andrews, 12. Fern Wilson, 11. Emma Jordan, 10. Alexa Grudgings, 9. Jenna Stewart, 1. Sarah Murphy, 2. Neve Jones, 3. Gemma McCamley, 4. Chloe McIlwaine, 5. Rebecca Lawlor, 6. Eimear Hagan, 7. Shirelle Wilson, 8. Lauren Maginnes. Replacements: 16. Ashleigh Currie, 17. Nicole Hutchinson, 18. Naomi McCord, 19. Brogain NiChiarrain, 20. Peita McAlister, 21. Jill Stephens, 22. Jasmine Ward
Railway Union: 15. Aoife O’Shaughnessy, 14. Cliodhna O’Connor, 13. Meg Kendal, 12. Deirdre Roberts, 11. Emer O’Mahony, 10. Molly ScuffilMcCabe, 9. Ailsa Hughes, 1. Aoife Moore, 2. Lisa Callan, 3. Sonia McDermott, 4. Meaghan Kenny, 5. Keelin Brady, 6. LisaMarie Murphy, 7. Ciara Cooney, 8. Daisy Earle. Replacements: 16.Molly Boyne, 17. Anna O’Neill, 18. Orlaith McAuliffe, 19. Hazel Summons, 20. Christine Coffey. 21. Saoirse McGrath, 22. Aoife Doyle
Over 200 match photos below.