AIL Roundup: Women’s Division & Conference Semi-Finals

The finals of Women’s Division and Women’s Conference have been decided after a dramatic weekend of action, Blackrock will face Railway, while Wicklow meet Galwegians.

AIL Women’s Division Semi-Finals:

Blackrock College 13-8 UL Bohemian, Stradbrook

A late Michelle Claffey try rubber stamped Blackrock’s place in the division final, as they remain unbeaten going into a repeat of last year’s tie.

It was hard to separate the teams in the opening half, both defended well in a scoreless opening half in Stradbrook. Méabh Deely took the opportunity to put Blackrock three points ahead after they were awarded a penalty into the second half, Nicole Cronin replied quickly to tie the game at 3-3.

In the 53rd minute, Maeve Liston found full-back Deely to go over in the corner for the game’s opening try, the unconverted effort moved the hosts 8-3 ahead. UL were not out just yet, they gained ground closer to the Rock line and Cronin danced and evaded the incoming challenges to cross and level the tie at 8-8. Claffey came up when her team needed her most to power over the winning try, the conversion hitting the upright but it was the Dubliners who prevailed.

Railway Union 34-19 Old Belvedere, Park Avenue

Railway Union showed their quality in the second half to continue their chase for a third League title in a row.

It was Belvo who started better, Alice O’Dowd getting over in the corner after a lineout, Elise O’Byrne-White ran clear from halfway to add their second minutes later for a 12-0 lead. Railway replied through Molly Scuffil-McCabe as she scored out wide from Nikki Caughey’s cross-field kick, to make it 12-5.

Union would feel the sting from the visitors once more, scrum half Katie Whelan gathered quick from the ruck and was quick to get over the line for the third Belvo try to lead 19-5. They were facing a mountain of a scoreline going into the break, but Lindsey Peat and Sonia McDermott both added tries before the break to leave the scoreline 19-17 in favour of Belvedere

Early in the second half Railway pinned Belvedere back toward their line, they went out wide where Aoife Doyle was able to go over to put Union into the lead, Caughey put the conversion between the posts for a 24-19 lead. Caughey put a penalty over to keep the board ticking in their favour, as they would get a run of 29 unanswered points as Peat crossed late on for her second of the tie.

AIL Women’s Conference Semi-Finals:

Wicklow 46-12 Ballincollig, Ashtown Lane

Wicklow’s race for silverware continued as they were impressive winners over Ballincollig, setting up a home final against Galwegians.

The hosts were 29-0 to the good by the break, with Ella Roberts and Megan Parkinson in great form in that opening half to get crucial scores. It was a much tighter second half as Ballincollig replied with tries by Denise Redmond and Sarah O’Donovan.

Burt eight tries in the end from Wicklow saw them into the conference final, second row Rachel Griffey scored two of their eight tries on the day, as Ella Roberts,Naoise O’Reilly, Loretta Gilbert, Jessica Schmidt and Erin McConnell all crossed the whitewash.

Galwegians 15-10 Suttonians, Crowley Park

A late Nicole Fowley try sent Galwegians into the conference final as they look to go one step further than last season, having defeated the champions.

The hosts controlled the first half and deservedly lead 10-5 at the break, Orla Dixon crossed for a converted try before Fowley landed a penalty for a 10-0 lead, Sutts struck through Sophie Gibney to trail 10-5 at the break, they erased the deficit after Janita Kareta crossed in the second half, it was a tough battle but the late try from Fowley gives Wegians the chance at the conference trophy for the second year running.

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.

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