Rugby: IRFU Women’s All-Ireland League – Round 13 Review

Storm Freya wreaked havoc in round 13 of the Women’s All-Ireland League with leaders Railway Union’s clash with Galwegians postponed, the UL Bohemians-Blackrock tie blown up after 60 minutes, and Old Belvedere and St. Mary’s completing their game through strong winds.

By Katie Byrne

OLD BELVEDERE 26 ST. MARY’S 0, Anglesea Road

Old Belvedere’s young forwards continue to impress in the absence of their Ireland internationals, with in-form teenage prop Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony getting on the scoreboard again in their 26-0 bonus point victory over Mary’s at Anglesea Road.

Some intricate play between backs and forwards before half-time set up Belvedere’s second try with former Ireland star Nora Stapleton getting on the end of a Laura McMahon pass. Stapleton switched to full-back following the introduction of current Ireland squad member Ellen Murphy after the break.

Ciara Scanlan, Amy Moran and Hannah Heskin put their bodies on the line for Mary’s, who won a number of penalties at scrum time, but Murphy’s influence was evident as she linked up brilliantly with centre Ailbhe Dowling. Josh Brown’s semi-final-bound side powered their way to the bonus point with Vanessa Hullon and Elise O’Byrne-White adding closing tries.

UL BOHEMIANS 5 BLACKROCK 5, University of Limerick 4G pitch

Blackrock number 8 Hannah O’Connor said it was ‘the most horrific weather any of us have ever played in’ after today’s match against defending champions UL Bohs finished in a five-all draw after 60 minutes. With player welfare in mind, the referee and both teams agreed to cut the second half short with the spoils shared.

Beginning in pelting rain and a cutting cross-field wind, conditions continued to deteriorate as the game wore on. Blackrock started the strongest and following a number of attempts to force their way over, they hit the front thanks to O’Connor’s pop pass which sent flanker Meadbh Scally over from a rolling maul.

A tight call went UL’s way for their levelling try when the referee adjudged that Stephanie Nunan had got her hands to a chip over the top, just ahead of covering full-back Aine Staunton. Blackrock had plenty of time to hit back but the worsening weather spoiled both teams’ hopes of building a winning position, with an understandably high error count and stop-start phases.

Women’s All-Ireland League Results/Fixtures –
https://www.irishrugby.ie/all-ireland-leagues/women/fixtures-results/

Women’s All-Ireland League Table –
https://www.irishrugby.ie/all-ireland-leagues/women/league-tables/

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