Date Time Competition Season
26 February 2022 7:30 pm AIL Womens Div 1 2021/22

Match Report

Union retain Womens AIL title

A brace of tries from Ailsa Hughes and a first half try from Molly McCabe helped ensure the Women’s AIL title returns to Park Avenue after Railway Union defeated Blackrock College 24-18 at Energia Park.

Blackrock College did fight back with tries from Hannah O’Connor and Emma Hooban but it wasn’t enough for the Stradbrook outfit.

The AIL Women’s Top 4 Final did not disappoint with both sides playing at a ferocious pace from the very start.

The back row of Aoife Wafer, Maeve Óg O’Leary and Hannah O’Connor saw plenty of the ball early on with the trio making some big carries for Rock. Despite Blackrock’s early possession, it was Railway Union who struck first. The try came courtesy of a brilliant combination between centre Eve Higgins and full back Molly McCabe.

Higgins danced through tackles between offloading the ball inside her into the path of McCabe who raced over the try line to score the game’s first try. Nikki Caughey added the extra point from the tee to give Railway a seven-point advantage after 15 minutes.

Blackrock replied almost immediately through the ever-lively Hannah O’Connor. The Ireland international picked the ball off the back of the scrum just inside the Railway Union 22 metre line. O’Connor used immense power and determination to drive over the line and reduce the deficit for her side.

It took just over five minutes for Railway Union to stretch their lead again and this time it was some quick thinking from scrum half Ailsa Hughes that was the difference.

Railway had the ball at the back of a ruck midway through the Blackrock half. Hughes saw a small gap just to her left-hand side and raced through and over the line to score her side’s second try of the game.

Caughey converted the try and stretched their lead to nine points.

Meabh Deely did add a penalty to her tally just before half time, meaning Railway Union lead 14-8 at the interval.

Deely and her side started the second period as they ended the first. The Blackrock winger reduced Railway’s winning margin to three points after her penalty inside the opening minutes of the half.

The Park Avenue outfit scored a penalty of their own through Nikki Caughey to retain their six-point lead.

It was a piece of quality, free flowing rugby that gave Railway Union their third try of the night. Amanda McQuaid broke the line and as she was being tackled, provided an inch perfect offload into the path of Ailsa Hughes. The scrum half crossed for her second try of the game and to give her side a 13-point advantage heading into the final quarter of an hour.

Just as it looked as if Railway were cruising towards the title, Rock hit back through hooker Emma Hooban who carried over from the back of a maul and over the line for the Stradbrook outfit.

Meabh Deely followed up with a brilliant conversion from a difficult angle to reduce the gap to just six points, heading into the last ten minutes.

Blackrock College continued to push for a winning try but were met with a relentless Railway Union defence every time they came knocking.

Blackrock College RFC

Railway Union RFC

15Molly Scuffil McCabe Scrum-Half 14'
14Aoife Doyle Winger
13Eve Higgins Centre
12Katie Heffernan 22 Centre 39'
11Niamh Byrne Winger
10Nicole Caughey Fly-Half 15', 25', 63'
9Ailsa Hughes 23 Scrum-Half 24', 62'
1Lindsay Peat 17 Prop
2Chloe Blackmore 21
3Katie O’Dwyer Prop
4Aoife McDermott Lock
5Siobhan McCarthy 19 Lock
6Emma Murphy 16 Flanker
7Claire Boles
8Deirdre Roberts No. 8
16Megan Collis 6 Prop
17Amanda McQuaid 1
18Keelin Brady
19Kate McCarthy 5 Flanker
20Anna McGann Flanker
21Grace Moore 2
22Tess Feury 12 Winger
23Aoife O’Shaughnessy 9 Full-Back

Past Meetings

(T4 - Round 5)
39 - 7
AIL Womens Div 1

Blackrock College v Railway Union RFC

(T4 - Round 2)
13 - 16
AIL Womens Div 1
Willow Lodge

Railway Union RFC v Blackrock College

(Round 2)
24 - 14
Women's All-Ireland Cup
Willow Lodge

Railway Union RFC v Blackrock College

(Round 1)
11 - 25
AIL Womens Div 1

Blackrock College v Railway Union RFC


Energia Park
Energia Park, Donnybrook Road, Pembroke West B ED, Dublin, County Dublin, Leinster, D04 T8X2, Ireland

Luke is a final year Journalism student in DCU. He is a Sports Reporter for Wicklow People Sport and