O'Connor's class shines through as Blackrock stun Railway Union

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HANNAH O’CONNOR’S 11-point kicking haul proved crucial as Blackrock College won 16-13 to end Railway Union’s 10-match unbeaten run in the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League.

O’Connor converted Meabh Deely’s 79th-minute try as ‘Rock’s statement win at Park Avenue moved the Top Four leaders a step closer to a place in next month’s final.

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Good hands off a close-in scrum saw Railway’s Molly Boyne, Ailsa Hughes and Molly Scuffil-McCabe combine to send USA international Tess Feury over for a 17th-minute try.

Nikki Caughey had landed an earlier penalty, and after a brilliant O’Connor three-pointer from distance, Railway conjured up a second try for the impressive Feury.

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She jinked over from the edge of the Blackrock 22 after good work by captain Niamh Byrne at the breakdown and full-back Scuffil-McCabe’s precise pass.

O’Connor closed the gap to 13-6 for half-time, and despite Blackrock dominating territory during the third quarter, Railway’s well-organised defence kept them out.

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A superb break from scrum half Hughes had the hosts hunting down a third try, but Blackrock won the battle of the breakdown and influential replacement Jackie Shiels turned the screw.

Shiels followed up on her own kick to win a penalty which O’Connor fired over, making it 13-9, before full-back Deely scampered over for the all-important try, released by passes from Shiels and Aoife Wafer.

Captain Chloe Pearse and Enya Breen scored two tries each as UL Bohemians handed Old Belvedere a 41-7 beating to move into second place.

O'Connor's class shines through as Blackrock stun Railway Union
© Brian Little Chloe Pearse in action for Munster.

UL out-half Nicole Cronin opened the scoring at the UL Arena, throwing a neat dummy and darting over from 12 metres out. Alana McInerney’s weaving break had Belvedere on the back foot before that.

Pearse picked from a ruck and rumbled over, quickly adding her second five-pointer with a strong run from the edge of the visitors’ 22.

Munster’s Interprovincial title-winning skipper Sarah Quin squeezed over for the bonus point score and a 22-0 interval lead for the Red Robins.

Spurred on by Johnny Garth’s half-time words, Belvedere hit back with an early try from hooker Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, who barged over from a few metres out after Jemma Farrell had tapped a penalty.

However, Bohs made sure they bounced back to winning ways with another purple patch. They reeled off three more tries in 10 minutes, some nice footwork taking replacement Clodagh O’Halloran in under posts following Muirne Wall’s quick tap and break.

Centre Breen closed out the scoring with a breakaway double, her first try seeing her use a strong fend to accelerate past halfway for an excellent 60-metre run-in. The 22-year-old showed her power and pace to score again, wide on the left.

The battle for the Conference trophy looks a three-horse race with Suttonians and Galwegians level at the summit, and Ballincollig just two points behind.

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Ballincollig won the clash of the promoted clubs, lock Denise Redmond landing seven points from the tee in their 17-14 triumph at Wicklow.

Suttonians continued their terrific recent form, building a 22-5 half-time lead at home to Malone. Catherine Martin broke a tackle and sent a well-timed pass out for the flying Molly Fitzgerald to score the opening try from 30 metres out.

The same two players spearheaded a pacy break downfield straight from the restart, with Fitzgerald feeding a pass back inside for captain Lauren Farrell McCabe to outpace her opposite number, Shirelle Wilson, and score from Malone’s 10-metre line.

A lovely jink and burst of pace took Malone full-back Holly Brannigan through a gap for her sixth try of the campaign, but Sutts wrestled back control to give themselves a 17-point cushion at the break.

Lena Kibler crossed from close range before hard-working centre Martin deservedly bagged the bonus point, surging over via an inviting flat pass from out-half Nicole Carroll.

With Malone losing number 8 Lauren Maginnes to the sin bin, Healy took centre stage with two strong carries for tries and then a superb solo effort from the visitors’ 10-metre line that showed exactly why she is on the cusp of an Ireland cap.

Number 8 Aifric O’Brien drove over from a few metres out to complete a runaway 46-5 victory for Stephen Costelloe’s charges. They have won four of their last five games and host Galwegians next Saturday in a mouth-watering top of the table clash.

Winger Rhiann Heery touched down twice during Galwegians’ 27-7 dismissal of Cooke. The Blue Belles built early momentum when Orla Dixon nipped over for her seventh try of the league season.

They added two more scores through Dearbhla Canty and Heery, who was released for the left corner, before Cooke scrum half Hannah Downey sidestepped her way over to close the gap to 17-7.

Into the second half at Crowley Park, young second row Faith Oviawe notched the bonus point for Jarrad Butler’s side, and they stretched Cooke’s defence for Heery’s second of the day, set up by a well-timed pass from captain Mairéad Coyne.

TOP FOUR – ROUND 2:

RAILWAY UNION 13 BLACKROCK COLLEGE 16, Park Avenue

Scorers: Railway Union: Tries: Tess Feury 2; Pen: Nikki Caughey

Blackrock College: Try: Meabh Deely; Con: Hannah O’Connor; Pens: Hannah O’Connor 3

HT: Railway Union 13 Blackrock College 6

RAILWAY UNION: Molly Scuffil-McCabe; Tess Feury, Niamh Byrne (capt), Aoife O’Shaughnessy, Ava Ryder; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Lindsay Peat, Chloe Blackmore, Katie O’Dwyer, Sonia McDermott, Siobhan McCarthy, Keelin Brady, Emma Murphy, Molly Boyne.

Replacements: Lisa Callan, Amanda McQuade, Megan Collis, Kate McCarthy, Deirdre Roberts, Hazel Simmons, Emer O’Mahony.

BLACKROCK COLLEGE: Meabh Deely; Natasja Behan, Michelle Claffey (capt), Katie Fitzhenry, Kate Cullen; Lisa Mullen, Aoibheann Reilly; Laura Feely, Emma Hooban, Christy Haney, Anna Potterton, Eimear Corri, Dorothy Wall, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Hannah O’Connor.

Replacements: Niamh Tester, Casey O’Brien, Aoife Moore, Aoife Wafer, Ali Coleman, Jackie Shiels, Maggie Boylan.

UL BOHEMIANS 41 OLD BELVEDERE 7, UL Arena

Scorers: UL Bohemians: Tries: Nicole Cronin, Chloe Pearse 2, Sarah Quin, Clodagh O’Halloran, Enya Breen 2; Cons: Nicole Cronin 3

Old Belvedere: Try: Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony; Con: Jemma Farrell

HT: UL Bohemians 22 Old Belvedere 0

UL BOHEMIANS: Aoife Corey; Alana McInerney, Rachel Allen, Enya Breen, Eimear Considine; Nicole Cronin, Muirne Wall; Chloe Pearse (capt), Kate Sheehan, Fiona Reidy, Claire Bennett, Ciara O’Halloran, Sarah Garrett, Lily Brady, Sarah Quin.

Replacements: Geena Behan, Eilis Cahill, Caoimhe O’Neill, Clodagh O’Halloran, Louise Costello, Abbie Salter-Townshend, Aoibhinn O’Loughlin.

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OLD BELVEDERE: Fiona Tuite; Laura Carty, Elise O’Byrne-White, Sene Naoupu, Clare Gorman; Aine Donnelly, Jemma Farrell; Alice O’Dowd, Vic Dabanovich O’Mahony, Katie Layde, Clodagh Dunne, Elaine Anthony, Jennie Finlay, Rachel Winters, Jenny Murphy (capt).

Replacements: Melissa Hayden, Rachel Murphy, Ciara O’Dwyer, Niamh O’Dowd, Amber Redmond, Hannah Heskin, Vanessa Hullon.

CONFERENCE – ROUND 2:

GALWEGIANS 27 COOKE 7, Crowley Park

Scorers: Galwegians: Tries: Orla Dixon, Dearbhla Canty, Rhiann Heery 2, Faith Oviawe; Con: Emma Keane

Cooke: Try: Hannah Downey; Con: Amanda Morton

HT: Galwegians 17 Cooke 7

GALWEGIANS: Mairéad Coyne (capt); Saskia Morrissey, Ursula Sammon, Orla Dixon, Rhiann Heery; Emma Keane, Olivia Haverty; Ellen Connolly, Nolwenn Dubois, Jessica Loftus, Fiona Scally, Faith Oviawe, Katelyn Bourke, Lisa-Marie Murphy, Dearbhla Canty.

Replacements: Ruby Lynch, Hannah Coen, Ann Marie Herward, Celia Killilea, Ina Butler, Megan Walsh, Emma Clery.

COOKE: Teah Maguire; Georgia Boyce, Lucy Thompson, Kelly McCormill, Tamzin Boyce; Amanda Morton, Hannah Downey; Fiona McCaughan, Megan Simpson, Aishling O’Connell (capt), Caolinn McCormack, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, Naomi McCord, India Daley, Helen McGhee.

Replacements: Alanagh van Staden, Eimear McQuillan, Dolores Hughes, Coral Lapsley, Ashleigh Orchard.

SUTTONIANS 46 MALONE 5, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds

Scorers: Suttonians: Tries: Molly Fitzgerald, Lauren Farrell McCabe, Lena Kibler, Catherine Martin, Mary Healy 3, Aifric O’Brien; Cons: Nicole Carroll 3

Malone: Try: Holly Brannigan

HT: Suttonians 22 Malone 5

SUTTONIANS: Soneva Scott; Molly Fitzgerald, Catherine Martin, Meabh Donohoe, Jools Aungier; Nicole Carroll, Lauren Farrell McCabe (capt); Katie Grant Duggan, Carrie O’Keeffe, Katie Reel, Grainne Tummon, Aislinn Layde, Lena Kibler, Louise Catinot, Aifric O’Brien.

Replacements: Megan Cullen, Julia O’Connor, Mary Healy, Ciara Farrell, Aoife Brennan, Shannon Touhey, Emily McKeown.

MALONE: Holly Brannigan; Nicole Rafferty, Jill Stephens, Emma Jordan, Sophie Armstrong; Alexa Grudgings, Shirelle Wilson; Sarah Murphy, Ashleigh Currie, Chrissie McKee, Hannah Beattie, Jasmine Ward, Erin Jones, Peita McAlister (capt), Lauren Maginnes.

Replacements: Cara O’Neill, Rachael McIlroy, Anna Stanfield, Fern Wilson.

WICKLOW 14 BALLINCOLLIG 17, Ashtown Lane

Scorers:

Wicklow: Tries: Sarah Gleeson, Ella Roberts; Cons: Beth Roberts 2

Ballincollig: Tries: Clare Coombes, Sarah O’Donovan; Cons: Denise Redmond 2; Pen: Denise Redmond

HT: Wicklow 7 Ballincollig 7

WICKLOW: Ella Roberts; Megan McConnell, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Tammy Breen, Meagan Parkinson; Beth Roberts, Erin McConnell (capt); Kathy Byrne, Robyn Mullen, Lauren Barry, Jessica Schmidt, Caitlin Griffey, Emma Curran, Emily Ryan, Niamh Ni Dhroma.

Replacements: Noelle Ward, Eimear Douglas, Laura Newsome, Shauna Soady, Nicole Humby, Sue Brady, Sarah Gleeson.

BALLINCOLLIG: Lauren Fahey; Heather Kennedy, Jayne Pennefather, Mona Fehily, Alison Kelly; Kelly Griffin, Gemma Lane; Alix Cunneen, Clodagh Walsh (capt), Roisin Ormond, Sarah O’Donovan, Denise Redmond, Katelyn Fleming, Niamh O’Regan, Kira Fitzgerald.

Replacements: Aoife Flynn, Olivia Hay Mulvihill, Clare Coombes, Gillian Coombes, Eimear Perryman, Valerie Heffernan, Sinead O’Reilly.

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