Thursday 27 October 2016

Four games for a fiver - and some quality fare on offer

Published 01/04/2016 | 02:30

Railway Union captain Danielle O'Sullivan is lifted by her team-mates after their victory in last year's Leinster League Division 2 final (SPORTSFILE)
Railway Union captain Danielle O'Sullivan is lifted by her team-mates after their victory in last year's Leinster League Division 2 final (SPORTSFILE)

Ahead of the Munster game in the Aviva Stadium tomorrow why not head down to Donnybrook Stadium where the Bank of Ireland Leinster Women's League Finals will take place.

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The first kick-off is at 11am, so be sure to bring your family and friends to support your team, it's guaranteed to be a great showcase of women's rugby!

Entry is €5 for adults and U-16s go FREE!

Division 4 - Wanderers v Portlaoise KO 11.00am

Division 3 - Gorey v NUIM Barnhall KO 11.30am

Division 2 - Tullamore v CYM KO 1.30pm

Division 1 - Edenderry v Rathdrum KO 2.00pm

What you need to know about your team!

Division 4

Seven teams made up this year's Division 4 contest, where Navan, Wanderers, Tallaght, Portlaoise and Blackrock J1s battled it out for silverware. The first game of the finals day will see a clash between Wanderers & Portlaoise.

On March 13, Wanderers gave an impressive display against Division 3 league finalists NUIM Barnhall and ran out deserving winners with a 41-17 result for their first match of the Paul Cusack Cup.

In only their second season of competitive rugby, this will be Wanderers first league final. On March 6, after a close play-off battle, Portlaoise defeated second in the table Navan 12-8 to reach their league final, in the face of Navan's impressive six-win streak throughout the season.

Despite a 16-12 triumph over Wanderers in their first league clash, De La Salle Palmerstown RFC fell by the wayside, reducing the initial eight-team Division 4 league to seven for a fighting finish.

Four points separated Blackrock J1s and Tallaght RFC from the bottom of the Division 4 league table, and both teams have now commenced their Paul Cusack Cup campaigns.

Blackrock J1s came close to their first win of the cup crusade on March 13 but were beaten by a triumphant Greystones side in a final score of 33-22. On the same day, Tallaght battled it out against the Division 2's Arklow "Amazons" who warrior-ed their way to an impressive 59-7 victory. Division 4 kick-off: Wanderers v Portlaoise 11 am.

Division 3

A dominating and front-running pair, Gorey and NUIM Barnhall, will have their chance to claim the Division 3 league title when they kick off at 11.30am. Gorey racked up the points in the early stages of the league with huge try scores resulting in a 29-5 win over middle of the table Athy and a 88-7 victory over a struggling Clontarf side.

However, they met their match during their first clash with a dominant Barnhall side who also sported victories of up to 50 points against Garda Westmanstown, Athy and Clontarf.

The first Gorey and Barnhall encounter resulted in a close 12-8 win for Barnhall while their second meeting reflected a similar score of 12-5 in favour of Gorey.

With not much between the teams and their score lines, this final is set to be a riveting showcase of rugby!

Troubles with numbers resulted in conceded games from a fatigued Garda/Westmantown and Clontarf sides on more than one occasion, placing both teams in the red zone of the table. Strong and varying performances from Longford, Balbriggan and Athy place them in a solid position for next year's title, and so for their stab at the 2016 Paul Cusack Cup. Division 3 kick-off: Gorey v NUIM Barnhall, 11.30am.

Division 2

Division 2 consisted of eight teams this year, with Tullamore, CYM, Tullow and Kilkenny all fighting for a place in the final. This division saw lots of walkovers with conceded games given by Suttonians, Wexford Wanderers and Arklow with the NM Falcons finding their feet and struggling at times through the season.

Tullamore sit at the top of the table, with Tullow being the only team to affect their perfect score. Tullamore's first clash with Tullow on home soil ended resulted in 0-0 draw while their away performance against caused a 7-0 defeat.

Tullamore automatically qualified for the finals, finishing top of the league with a string of strong performances and a points tally of 59. CYM saw off Tullow in the semi-final with a 20-7 win. In their fixtures this season Tullamore saw off CYM 41-0 and in the return fixture Tullamore were victorious by only five points on a score of 8-3.

The gap may close even more on the day of the finals. There is no doubt the Division 2 final will be a hotly contested affair. Division 2 kick-off: Tullamore v CYM, 1.30pm.

Division 1

This year's Division 1 final, and last game of finals day is set to be an enthralling battle between Edenderry and Rathdrum sides who have proved their physicality, ability and skill throughout a league rife with top-class tries, injuries and close battles. Last year's Division 1 winners Mullingar went into the semi-finals joint top with Edenderry and were eventually denied an opportunity to defend their title which saw a MVP win for Louise Kelly.

There will be no doubt that the ladies from Mullingar will feature in the top of the Division 1 table again next year. The second semi-final saw Edenderry beat Railway Union J1s 43-10 a score which serves as a reminder of their strength all season, losing only two games throughout the league campaign.

Looking past the top four in Division 1, we see some teams that have struggled in the top tier of women's rugby in Leinster both in performance, through injury or simply from adjusting to the tougher contests.

Carlow Coyotes, strong contenders in each competition they have featured in since their first game a few seasons ago, found the going tough due to a number of key injuries and transfers. Old Belvedere J1s had mixed fortunes throughout the league and will aim to build on some of their better results.

Clondalkin and New Ross found the going toughest this season and both teams prop up Division 1 with nine and six points respectively. Division 1 kick-off: Edenderry v Rathdrum, 2.00pm.

Best of luck to all of the teams on the day. Whatever the outcome in all four finals, a fantastic day showcasing the Women's game is guaranteed!

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