Friday 23 June 2017

Old Belvedere denied fourth successive title by superb Bohs

UL Bohemians 10 Old Belvedere 3

Number 8 Chloe Pearse touched down via a dominant maul in the 16th minute. Photo: Stock image
Number 8 Chloe Pearse touched down via a dominant maul in the 16th minute. Photo: Stock image

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

UL Bohemians are the Women's All-Ireland League champions for the first time in four years after ending Old Belvedere's recent dominance of the competition at Donnybrook to claim the crown for the 12th time following their 11 titles between 2001 and 2013.

Number 8 Chloe Pearse touched down via a dominant maul in the 16th minute and, with the UL forwards keeping Mike Storey's side on the front foot, pacy winger Eimear Considine sprinted clear from halfway for a second unconverted effort.

Experienced Ireland back Niamh Kavanagh, who featured at centre, starred for Bohemians in defence and attack, with the all-Ireland international front row of captain Fiona Hayes, Gill Bourke and Fiona Reidy also wielding plenty of influence.

Contention

Centre Jackie Shiels's 68th-minute penalty brought Belvedere back into contention but their bid for a fourth successive title fell short as the table toppers' impressive defence held them at bay.

Victorious Bohs skipper Hayes said: "We're absolutely delighted to win. We've been training hard all season.

"You can be at the top (of the table) and be ahead by however many points, but when it comes to semi-finals and finals, it's a whole different ball game.

"I think we've had a fairly consistent team this year and that's what has stood to us.

"Even the international players who were away, they'd come back for training and were in and out of the team.

"It came together for us in the end and that's all we wanted - we wanted to play well in the final."

Old Belvedere head coach Alex Denby admitted: "I think it was just their day - hats off to Bohs, they're worthy champions."

UL BOHEMIANS - A Staunton; L Burke, S Pua, N Kavanagh, E Considine; R Allen-Connolly, C Keohane; F Hayes (capt), G Bourke, F Reidy; A O'Sullivan, S Hartigan; C Griffin, A Caplice, C Pearse. Replacements: L Anglim, V Mitchell, C Lannucci, E Murphy, M Ring, R O'Brien, C McDermott.

OLD BELVEDERE - M Kenny; F Klappoth, A Donnelly, J Shiels, L Ring; N Stapleton, K Dane; R McElroy, A Lemouzy, F O'Brien; S Moore, M-L Reilly; L Djougang, O Hynes, S Lynch. Replacements: S Barman, S Barrett, R Healy, A Dowling, G McCormack, M Croman, A McCaffrey.

REF - H O'Reilly (IRFU)

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