With the teams sitting second and third in the table respectively, it was Galwegians who won through to face unbeaten table toppers Suttonians for silverware next Saturday.
The game is part of a triple header in Donnybrook, with the Conference decider and the overall league final between Blackrock College and Railway Union both televised live on TG4.
The changed venue of Creggs RFC’s 4G pitch was very much to ‘Wegians’ liking, with strong-running backs Megan Walsh and Mairéad Coyne chipping in with a hat-trick of tries each.
Blackrock and a much-changed Railway completed the Top Four series at Blackrock school’s all-weather surface, a Natasja Behan brace helping ‘Rock to go five-for-five with a 39-7 bonus point success.
Old Belvedere celebrated their first league win of 2022, Sene Naoupu raiding over from the right wing in the seventh minute as they defeated UL Bohemians 22-12 at Energia Park.
Results have been hard to come by for Belvedere, but Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird’s quick tap sparked the best out of their attack, Fiona Tuite and Brittany Hogan both making breaks before Aine Donnelly released Naoupu to score.
Johnny Garth’s charges doubled their lead in the 13th minute, returning Ireland Sevens internationals Hogan, who strode through midfield, and Erin King again to the fore.
18-year-old flanker King flicked a terrific offload out of a double tackle for Elise O’Byrne-White to collect and burst past Sarah Quin for a well-taken unconverted try.
The excellent King was denied a try by a forward pass, but the Dubliners duly pushed into a 17-0 lead for half-time, pressing again on the back of a turnover penalty won by Nic a Bhaird.
Kathryn Dane’s slick service from ruck to ruck paved the way for her half-back partner Donnelly to nip in beside the posts on an arcing run. Captain Jenny Murphy converted.
Niamh Briggs’ half-time words got Bohs back on track. They unfortunately lost Enya Breen, who shipped a heavy knock in contact, before some nice passing off a scrum played in Eimear Considine for an unconverted score.
Play became scrappier amid a prolonged rain shower, the UL pack growing in influence and a strong spell of carrying ended with replacement Lily Brady squeezing over from close range.
Rachel Allen’s conversion made it a five-point game, but it was Allen whose pass was intercepted by Donnelly for a 40-metre run-in as Belvedere clinched a last-minute bonus point.
‘Belvo and Bohs meet again at the same venue in the 3rd-4th place play-off, while Ballincollig and Cooke will have home advantage in the other play-off games.
Cooke were much improved in seeing off Malone 31-3, number 8 Helen McGhee crossing twice ahead of the sides’ rematch at Shaw’s Bridge.
Wicklow, who travel to ‘Collig in the battle for seventh place, lost 20-15 at home to Suttonians. Sisters Lauren and Kate Farrell McCabe had a try apiece for Sutts, the latter showing her Sevens speed for a brilliant breakaway effort.
The north Dubliners’ efficiency in the red zone was the difference at Ashtown Lane, a simple overlap resulting in the opening try for left winger Lena Kibler in the corner.
Sutts were clinical again from their next visit to the 22, this time captain Lauren Farrell McCabe scoring from a quickly-taken penalty which took them 10 points clear.
Back came Wicklow, a big Lucy Mulhall carry almost getting them over before prop Kathy Byrne grounded the ball successfully. Beth Roberts converted and then, early in the second half, fired oved a levelling penalty.
However, two quick-fire tries from Kate Farrell McCabe, who managed to stay clear of the chasing Ella Roberts, and replacement Emily McKeown regained Suttonians’ 10-point advantage.
A smart Erin McConnell snipe gave the home crowd some hope heading into the closing stages. Centre Vicky Elmes Kinlan almost snatched an equalising try, but she was stopped short of the line and Sutts held out for their fifth straight win.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE – WOMEN’S DIVISION RESULTS:
TOP FOUR – ROUND 5: Saturday, February 19
BLACKROCK COLLEGE 39 RAILWAY UNION 7, Blackrock College 4G pitch
Scorers: Blackrock College: Tries: Dorothy Wall, Michelle Claffey, Natasja Behan 2, Ali Coleman, Jackie Shiels; Cons: Meabh Deely 3; Pen: Meabh Deely
Railway Union: Try: Katie Heffernan; Con: Nikki Caughey
HT: Blackrock College 12 Railway Union 7
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Maggie Boylan; Meabh Deely, Michelle Claffey (capt), Ciara Scanlan, Maeve Liston; Lisa Mullen, Emily Lane; Aoife Moore, Niamh Tester, Christy Haney, Eimear Corri, Mairead Holohan, Dorothy Wall, Ali Coleman, Hannah O’Connor.
Replacements: Ann-Marie Rooney, Casey O’Brien, Meadbh Scally, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Jackie Shiels, Natasja Behan, Katie Fitzhenry.
RAILWAY UNION: Aoife O’Shaughnessy; Ava Ryder, Erin Coll, Katie Heffernan, Tess Feury; Nikki Caughey, Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Grainne O’Loughlin, Chloe Blackmore, Katie O’Dwyer, Sonia McDermott, Keelin Brady, Shannah Tiffoney, Emma Fabby, Grace Moore.
Replacements: Aimee Clarke, Megan Collis, Amanda McQuade, Kate McCarthy, Molly Boyne, Emer O’Mahony, Hazel Simmons.
OLD BELVEDERE 22 UL BOHEMIANS 12, Energia Park
Scorers: Old Belvedere: Tries: Sene Naoupu, Elise O’Byrne-White, Aine Donnelly 2; Con: Jenny Murphy
UL Bohemians: Tries: Eimear Considine, Lily Brady; Con: Rachel Allen
HT: Old Belvedere 17 UL Bohemians 0
OLD BELVEDERE: Fiona Tuite; Clare Gorman, Sene Naoupu, Jenny Murphy (capt), Elise O’Byrne-White; Aine Donnelly, Kathryn Dane; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Melissa Hayden, Clodagh Dunne, Brittany Hogan, Erin King, Lesley Ring, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird.
Replacements: Christina Furlong, Amber Redmond, Ciara O’Dwyer, Niamh O’Dowd, Rachel Winters, Aoife Dalton, Laura Carty.
UL BOHEMIANS: Eimear Considine; Alana McInerney, Rachel Allen, Stephanie Nunan, Aoife Corey; Enya Breen, Louise Costello; Chloe Pearse (capt), Kate Sheehan, Fiona Reidy, Claire Bennett, Ciara O’Halloran, Sarah Garrett, Clodagh O’Halloran, Sarah Quin.
Replacements: Eilis Cahill, Caoimhe O’Neill, Lily Brady, Muirne Wall, Niamh Kavanagh, Aoibhinn O’Loughlin.
CONFERENCE – ROUND 5: Saturday, February 19
GALWEGIANS 50 BALLINCOLLIG 5, Creggs RFC
Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Megan Walsh 3, Mairéad Coyne 3, Sarah O’Connell, Grace Browne Moran; Cons: Nicole Fowley 5
Ballincollig: Try: Denise Redmond
HT: Galwegians 28 Ballincollig 0
GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne (capt); Saskia Morrissey, Megan Walsh, Orla Dixon, Ursula Sammon; Nicole Fowley, Darwyn O’Halloran; Ellen Connolly, Nolwenn Dubois, Jessica Loftus, Niamh O’Grady, Grace Browne Moran, Elizabeth McNicholas, Lisa-Marie Murphy, Dearbhla Canty.
Replacements: Tracey Lawlor, Celia Killilea, Ann Marie Herward, Sarah O’Connell, Emma Keane, Laoise McGonagle, Olivia Haverty.
BALLINCOLLIG: Lauren Fahey; Heather Kennedy, Jayne Pennefather, Mona Fehily, Alison Kelly; Kelly Griffin, Gemma Lane; Alix Cunneen, Clodagh Walsh (capt), Roisin Ormond, Gillian Coombes, Eimear Perryman, Katelyn Fleming, Niamh O’Regan, Kira Fitzgerald.
Replacements: Aoife Flynn, Clare Coombes, Annie Laffan, Sarah O’Donovan, Denise Redmond, Christine Arthurs, Sinead O’Reilly.
MALONE 3 COOKE 31, Gibson Park
Scorers: Malone: Pen: Ella Durkan
Cooke: Tries: Helen McGhee 2, Lucy Thompson, Ilse van Staden, Beth Cregan; Cons: Dolores Hughes 2, Amanda Morton
HT: Malone 3 Cooke 19
MALONE: Holly Brannigan; Jill Stephens, Emma Jordan, Ella Durkan, Anna Stanfield; Peita McAlister (capt), 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, Jana McQuillan.
COOKE: Dolores Hughes; Teah Maguire, Lucy Thompson, Kelly McCormill, Tamzin Boyce; Ashleigh Orchard, Georgia Boyce; Fiona McCaughan, Beth Cregan, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Caolinn McCormack, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, India Daley, Katie Hetherington, Helen McGhee.
Replacements: Ilse van Staden, Naomi McCord, Megan Simpson, Cara O’Kane, Amanda Morton, Eimear McQuillan, Chloe McMorran.
WICKLOW 15 SUTTONIANS 20, Ashtown Lane
Scorers: Wicklow: Tries: Kathy Byrne, Erin McConnell; Con: Beth Roberts; Pen: Beth Roberts
Suttonians: Tries: Lena Kibler, Lauren Farrell McCabe, Kate Farrell McCabe, Emily McKeown
HT: Wicklow 7 Suttonians 10
WICKLOW: Ella Roberts; Meagan Parkinson, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Lucy Mulhall, Sarah Gleeson; Beth Roberts, Erin McConnell (capt); Kathy Byrne, Noelle Ward, Lauren Barry, Jessica Schmidt, Caitlin Griffey, Emma Curran, Emily Ryan, Niamh Ni Dhroma.
Replacements: Amy O’Neill, Niamh O’Leary, Laura Newsome, Becky Condren, Megan McConnell, Saoirse O’Reilly.
SUTTONIANS: Nicole Carroll; Molly Fitzgerald, Kate Farrell McCabe, Catherine Martin, Lena Kibler; Jessica Kelleher, Lauren Farrell McCabe (capt); Julia Bauer, Julia O’Connor, Katie Reel, Brenda Barr, Grainne Tummon, Aislinn Layde, Louise Catinot, Ciara Farrell.
Replacements: Aoife Brennan, Katie Grant Duggan, Nicola Bolger, Ali Howick, Emily McKeown.