All Ireland Conference: Malone 3 Cooke 31

Published Categorised as 2020-21, 2021-22, All Ireland Conference, Club Rugby Women, Cooke RFC, Malone RFC Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Cooke cruised to to comfortable win against Malone in the All Ireland Conference match at Gibson Park

Cooke travelled the short distance across Belfast for the final round of the All Ireland Conference against Malone at Gibson Park on Saturday evening.

The match was a dead rubber as the teams were already slated to meet this coming weekend in the bottom place play off in what has been a disappointing season for both teams in the league and for women’s rugby in Ulster in general with no Ulster club represented in the recently announced Ireland Women’s panel.

The match was played in cold and windy conditions on the far pitch at Gibson Park. Unfortunately due to the lights I was only able to cover the first half.

It was a fairly scrappy game with neither side managing to string together more than a couple of phases. Cooke dominated in the scrum and at the breakdown and that was enough to see them home fairly comfortably.

Helen McGhee grabbed a first half brace for Cooke

The visitors got the scoreboard ticking over in the opening minutes. A line out catch by Helen McGhee leading to a dab at the line by Teah Maguire for McGhee to get round to the resulting ruck and finish it off in the corner.

All smiles for Lucy Thompson as she returns to the centre of the park after scoring for Cooke.

Malone looked to hit back but Cooke were winning the contact areas and a turnover was taken on by Dolores Hughes who passed to center Lucy Thompson who rounded the Malone defence in the middle of the park to sprint clear from some distance. Hughes added the conversion to give Cooke a 12 – 0 lead after 8 minutes.

Ella Durkan was prominent for Malone.

Malone enjoyed an extended period of possession in the Cooke half, with Ella Durkan prominent, but the Cooke defence, organised by Ashleigh Orchard, had their number and the visitors dominant scrum made any handling error an easy out. Durkan landed a 25th minute penalty to take the score to 3 – 12, but it was scant reward for the effort they had put in.

Cooke made the most of their opportunities and the next time they got into Malone territory they came away with another 7 points with, the continually improving, McGhee grabbing her second try, Hughes adding the conversion.

Cooke lost captain Aishling O’Connell to an HIA, though things didn’t get any easier for Malone with Ilse van Staden coming on as replacement, however the yellow carding of Thompson, for a high tackle, late in the half gave Malone a glimmer of a chance as they went into the break chasing a 3 – 19 deficit.

Ilse van Staden breaks for the line for Cooke.

Any thoughts of a comeback were soon put to bed with Cooke’s Van Staden tearing down the left wing for the bonus point try shortly after resumption. With the light deteriorating beyond the camera capabilities I left shortly after.

By the time I got back to Larne and got my Saturday night fish supper the results were in; a second half try by Beth Cregan, and conversion by Amanda Morton the only other scores giving Cooke a 3 – 31 win and home advantage for the 5th place play off this coming weekend.

Malone: Holly Brannigan, Jana McQuillan, Jill Stephens, Ella Durkan, Anna Stanfield,  Peita McAlister, Rachael McIlroy, Sarah Murphy, Cara O’Neill, Anna Smith, Hannah Beattie, Rebecca Greenaway,  Emma Taylor, Shirelle Wilson, Chloe McIlwaine. Replacements: Ashleigh Currie, Katie Anne McCallion, Nicole Rafferty

Cooke:  Dolores Hughes, Eimear McQuillan, Lucy Thompson, Kelly McCormill, Tamzin Boyce,  Ashleigh Orchard, Teah Maguire, Fiona McCaughan, Beth Cregan, Aishling O’Connell, Caolinn McCormack, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, India Daley, Katie Hetherington, Helen McGhee. Replacements: Ilse Van Staden,  Naomi McCord, Megan Simpson, Cara O’Kane,  Amanda Morton, Chloe McMorran


Wicklow RFC520(35)311
All Ireland conference Final League Standings.

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