Railway fight back to secure historic AIL victory
Railway Union 13 UL Bohemians 8
Railway Union clinched their first Women's All-Ireland League title after a dramatic victory over defending champions UL Bohemians at Energia Park on Saturday.
The first-time finalists, captained by centre Niamh Byrne, denied UL a three-in-a-row as tries from Shirley Corcoran (40 minutes) and Stephanie Carroll (62), coupled with a Claire Keohane penalty, cancelled out their opponents' fast start, which included Sarah Quin's 16th-minute try.
The opening exchanges looked ominous for Railway. Facing into a strong wind, they struggled. A Bohs turnover set up Niamh Briggs to slot over a sixth-minute penalty. UL's continued pressure paid off when Quin plunged over from an advancing scrum for an 8-0 lead.
Railway were a different proposition in the second half and saw out a famous win.
Head coach John Cronin dedicated the win to former club President Charlie Hurley, who passed away earlier this year.
"I can't really explain how close the president was to the players," said Cronin. "He knew all their names and he knew where they were from and he went to their games. Some of the players on the pitch carried his coffin. He would have loved that today."
Meanwhile, Suttonians were 24-20 winners over a Grace Davitt-inspired Malone in Saturday's promotion play-off curtain-raiser in Donnybrook.
RAILWAY UNION - L Muldoon; S Carroll, N Byrne (capt), M Kendal, Emer O'Mahony; C Keohane, M Scuffil-McCabe; S Corcoran, C Blackmore, K O'Dwyer, S McCarthy, A McDermott, E Murphy, E Taylor, L Peat. Replacements: A Clarke, L Callan, S McDermott, D Earle, C Coombes, L Barachetti, E Coll.
UL BOHEMIANS - A Staunton; E Considine, E Breen, R Allen-Connolly, L Sheehan; N Briggs, L O'Mahony; F Hayes (capt), K Sheehan, F Reidy, C Bennett, C Pearse, E Murphy, C O'Halloran, S Quin. Replacements: S O'Gorman, G Behan, S Garrett, A O'Sullivan, H McDermott, N Kavanagh, S Nunan.
Ref - Helen O'Reilly (IRFU)