Meagan Parkinson’s intercept try from halfway was worth its weight in gold for Wicklow in the latest round of the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division.
The experienced winger ran in the only score of a defence-dominated second half, as Wicklow edged out Galwegians 16-14 to move into the dizzying heights of the top four.
With two fixtures against top-three teams still to come, Jason Moreton’s side are up against it to claim a semi-final spot, but they have undoubtedly made huge progress in just their second AIL season.
Converted tries from Elizabeth McNicholas and Mairéad Coyne had ‘Wegians on course, leading 14-9 at half-time. However, Beth Roberts converted Parkinson’s effort to add to her three earlier penalties.
Ahead of their meeting next Saturday, unbeaten pair Railway Union and Blackrock College maintained their winning form. Full-back Aoife O’Shaughnessy’s lone second try saw understrength leaders Railway overcome Old Belvedere 15-11.
Old Belvedere took a third-minute lead when Dannah O’Brien, the division’s top scorer, knocked over a central penalty after her initial chip kick had been collected by Elise O’Byrne-White.
Railway flanker Carmen Rodera slipped through from a ruck, and Lindsay Peat was also a prominent carrier early on, while Aimee Clarke also provided plenty of threat on the left wing.
Punching holes during a pacy attack, Peat was twice involved as Belvedere were sent back towards their own posts. Captain Niamh Byrne and Chloe Blackmore got the ball wide for Ava Ryder to step inside Jemma Farrell and crash over.
The young winger’s 11th-minute try went unconverted, and the reliable left boot of O’Brien quickly moved ‘Belvo back in front at 6-5 as some big tackles continued to leave their mark.
Early in the second quarter, Railway attacked crisply off a midfield scrum to get O’Shaughnessy striding up into the visitors’ 22. They went close from a quick tap before Rodera neatly jinked past Clodagh Dunne for her sixth try of the season.
Nikki Caughey pushed the conversion wide before ‘Belvo prop Alice O’Dowd fought hard to gather in an overthrown Railway lineout. Johnny Garth’s side followed up with some of their best attacking phases.
Incisive running from captain Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird and Dunne had them knocking on the door for a try, Aine Donnelly going close from O’Brien’s lofted pass but then loosehead O’Dowd was held up.
Nonetheless, on the stroke of half-time, O’Brien’s slashing run up into the 22 saw her combine with Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony who offloaded off the ground to Nic a Bhaird, and the quick ball set up O’Byrne-White to charge over to the left of the posts.
O’Brien missed the tough conversion on the near side, and with the scoreboard showing 11-10, the Tullow teenager also curled a penalty wide inside the opening minutes of the second half.
The ‘Belvo out-half drew a 35-metre effort wide soon after, but showed her quality again with ball in hand, opening up the defence with an injection of pace and a slick offload out of a tackle to O’Byrne-White.
Railway showed their resilience through replacement Stephanie Carroll’s sin bin period, with Spanish back rower Rodera twice forcing lineout steals and Peat coming up with a timely turnover penalty.
Ireland internationals Maeve Óg O’Leary (2) and Hannah O’Connor made try-scoring returns from injury in Blackrock College’s thumping 71-7 win over Ballincollig. ‘Rock’s 11-try haul also included a brace from Ulster’s Ella Durkan.
Vice-captain Nicole Cronin made her injury comeback in UL Bohemians’ 43-5 bonus point triumph overSuttonians in a game that was moved to Castletroy College.
Bohs, who had two tries each from Clodagh O’Halloran and teenage winger Clara Barrett, boosted their semi-final hopes with fourth-placed Wicklow now just three points ahead of them.
Saturday, November 5 –
BLACKROCK 71 BALLINCOLLIG 7, Stradbrook
Scorers: Blackrock College: Tries: Maeve Liston, Maeve Óg O’Leary 2, Michelle Claffey, Ava Fannin, Ella Durkan 2, Anna Doyle, Hannah O’Connor, Natasja Behan, Penalty try; Cons: Méabh Deely 5, Abby Moyles 2, Pen try con
Ballincollig: Try: Roisin Ormond; Con: Alison Kelly
HT: Blackrock College 40 Ballincollig 0
BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Méabh Deely; Maeve Liston, Michelle Claffey (capt), Ella Durkan, Anna Doyle; Jackie Shiels, Tatum Bird; Niamh Tester, Emma Hooban, Laura Feely, Eimear Corri, Mairead Holohan, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Beth Cregan, Ali Coleman.
Replacements: Ava Fannin, Hannah Hodges, Hannah O’Connor, Natasja Behan, Lisa Mullen, Ciara Scanlan, Abby Moyles.
BALLINCOLLIG: Heather Kennedy; Michelle O’Driscoll, Christine Arthurs, Meaghan Kenny, Alison Kelly; Jayne Pennefether, Mona Fehily; Roisin Ormond, Clodagh Walsh (co-capt), Clare Coombes, Gillian Coombes (co-capt), Denise Redmond, Kira Fitzgerald, Katelyn Fleming, Tiare Siguenza.
Replacements: Annie Laffan, Aoife Flynn, Eimear Perryman, Caolainn Healy, Aoife Buckley, Michelle Stafford, Sinéad O’Reilly.
RAILWAY UNION 15 OLD BELVEDERE 11, Park Avenue
Scorers: Railway Union: Tries: Ava Ryder, Carmen Rodera, Aoife O’Shaughnessy
Old Belvedere: Try: Elise O’Byrne-White; Pens: Dannah O’Brien 2
HT: Railway Union 10 Old Belvedere 11
RAILWAY UNION: Aoife O’Shaughnessy; Aimee Clarke, Aoife Doyle, Niamh Byrne (capt), Ava Ryder; Nikki Caughey, Christine Coffey; Lindsay Peat, Chloe Blackmore, Megan Collis, Keelin Brady, Aoife McDermott, Carmen Rodera, Emma Fabby, Molly Boyne.
Replacements: Lisa Callan, Claire Byrne, Grainne O’Loughlin, Daisy Earle, Emerson Allen, Alaïs Diebold, Stephanie Carroll.
OLD BELVEDERE: Aine Donnelly; Éadaoin Murtagh, Elise O’Byrne-White, Emma Kelly; Emma Tilly, Dannah O’Brien, Jemma Farrell; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Katie Layde, Clodagh Dunne, Elaine Anthony, Fiona Tuite, Niamh O’Dowd, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (capt).
Replacements: Rachel Murphy, Hannah Wilson, Lesley Ring, Caoimhe Guinan, Rachel Winters, Minnona Nunstedt, Finola Collins.
UL BOHEMIANS 43 SUTTONIANS 5, Castletroy College
Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Clodagh O’Halloran 2, Claire Bennett, Laura O’Mahony, Clara Barrett 2, Rachel Allen; Cons: Nicole Cronin, Kate Flannery 3
Suttonians: Try: Grainne Tummon
HT: UL Bohemians 17 Suttonians 0
UL BOHEMIANS: Aoife Corey; Clara Barrett, Alana McInerney, Kate Flannery, Laura O’Mahony; Nicole Cronin (capt), Muirne Wall; Fiona Reidy, Kate Sheehan, Eilis Cahill, Rebecca Reilly, Clare Bennett, Sarah Garrett, Clodagh O’Halloran, Ciara Farrell.
Replacements: Ciara O’Dwyer, Geena Behan, Nicola Sweeney, Lily Brady, Abbie Salter-Townsend, Rachel Allen, Brianna Heylmann.
SUTTONIANS: Sophie Gibney; Annie Buntine, Meabh O’Brien, Catherine Martin (capt), Lena Kibler; Órfhlaith Murray, Amber Redmond; Janita Kareta, Julia O’Connor, Julia Bauer, Roisin O’Driscoll, Grainne Tummon, Louise Catinot, Casey White, Carrie O’Keeffe.
Replacements: Aoife Brennan, Nicola Bolger, Mary Healy, Brenda Barr, Jools Aungier, Clara Sexton, Shannon Touhey.
WICKLOW 16 GALWEGIANS 14, Ashtown Lane
Scorers: Wicklow: Try: Meagan Parkinson; Con: Beth Roberts; Pens: Beth Roberts 3
Galwegians: Tries: Elizabeth McNicholas, Mairéad Coyne; Cons: Nicole Fowley 2
HT: Wicklow 9 Galwegians 14
WICKLOW: Ella Roberts; Naoise O’Reilly, Aoibhin Stone, Sarah Gleeson, Meagan Parkinson; Beth Roberts, Roisin Stone; Linda Dempsey, Eimear Douglas, Lauren Barry (capt), Rachel Griffey, Jessica Schmidt, Nicola Schmidt, Niamh Ni Dhroma, Caoimhe Molloy.
Replacements: Noelle Ward, Caitlin Griffey, Loretta Gilbert, Orla Molloy, Erin McConnell, Jocelyn Jones, Saoirse O’Reilly.
GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne; Tanya Farrell, Orla Dixon, Kayla Waldron, Ursula Sammon; Nicole Fowley (capt), Mary Healy; Kiara Irwin, Elizabeth McNicholas, Jessica Loftus, Dearbhla Canty, Grace Browne Moran, Nolwenn Dubois, Emily Gavin, Lisa-Marie Murphy.
Replacements: Ruby Lynch, Hannah Coen, Faith Oviawe, Maelle Jouve, Olivia Haverty, Sinead O’Brien, Laoise McGonagle.
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