Women’s All-Ireland Cup semi-finals
Old Belvedere 8 – 10 Blackrock, Anglesea Road
Railway Union 10 – 10 UL Bohemians, Sandymount
By Aisling Crowe
Source: Camerasport/Alex Dodd/INPHO
FARCICAL SCENES REIGNED at the end of a pulsating clash between Railway Union and UL Bohemians in the semi-final of the Women’s All-Ireland Cup.
The sides could not be separated at the end of 80 minutes and the score of 10 points apiece was not altered at the end of the 20 minutes of extra time.
Representatives from both sides, along with the match officials, were unsure of how to proceed as regulations governing drawn Cup games could not be found.
Frantic calls were placed to various officials around the country and with some suggesting that the first try scorer rules which apply to the league semi-finals might be applicable, UL Bohemians thought they were deemed the victors.
Railway Union, however, are of the opinion that a replay in Limerick next Sunday is the outcome.
John Cronin, Railway Union’s Director of Rugby said: “Next weekend is a free weekend, and we are looking forward to the replay in Annacotty on Sunday.
Railway Union won the shield last year. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO
“There is nothing in the regulations about what to do in the event that a Cup game is tied after extra-time so we are assuming that we play UL Bohemians next weekend, given that there is a free weekend after the Cup semi-finals, and another in April after the Cup final.
“The rule about first try-scorer is for the league semi-finals, and it is there because the league final is played on the following weekend so there is no room in the schedule for a League semi-final replay.”
For UL Bohemians’ John Keane, he has been told that his side are to play Blackrock in the Cup final next month.
“We understand that because we got the first try of the game, after three minutes, that we are into the Cup final. It is all up in the air at the moment.”
Commenting on the actual events of the match Keane said: “It was a tough game and both teams played really well. We had both conversion attempts bounce off the posts which could have made it 12 or 14-0 and avoided all of this confusion. As far as we know we are playing Blackrock in the Cup final in April.”
On the pitch the visitors got the best start possible, Claire McDermott galloping down the wing inside the 22 to touch down for the opening try of the match. It remained 5-0 to UL Bohemians until early in the second half when Canadian international Emma Taylor, who has starred for Railway Union this season, scored a try of her own to level the game up at five points apiece.
Railway Union then took the lead thanks to Emma Taylor, who along with her colleagues in the back- row, Juliet Short and Meg Kendall, were outstanding for the home team.
Fiona Hayes was defiant in her role as captain for UL Bohemians and she grabbed the try that ultimately sent the game into extra-time, when confusion and farce ruled supreme.
Fiona Hayes. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
There was a definitive result in the other semi-final and Blackrock are certainly through to the Cup final next month, but it took a last gasp try from attacking sensation Eimear Corri to secure a final berth for the visitors at Anglesea Road.
The Portlaoise star, who was awarded an entrance scholarship to Dublin City University earlier in the week based on her Leaving Certificate results from 2016, gained possession out wide in the final moments of the game and shrugged off two tackles to touch down for the game winning try.
Blackrock winger Ali Coleman burst down the left flank for the game’s first try, near the corner, after speedy passing amongst her backs.
Blackrock’s Eimear Corri. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Before the half-time whistle blew Rosin O’Donnell was perfectly placed to end multiple Old Belvedere phases with a try that levelled the game.
Belvedere had one foot in the final with five minutes to go as a penalty from Áine Donnelly gave the home team a three-point lead but they reckoned without the fleet-footed Portlaoise teenager.
Joshua Brown, coach of the victorious Blackrock side, said: “We are delighted to be in the final. The girls put in a valiant effort and gave it 100 per cent. They left everything on the pitch and kept their composure when Old Belvedere attacked, they stuck to their game plan and worked right till the very end. They showed great heart and whoever we play in the final, we have a month to prepare for the game and we are going to give it everything.”
For Ruth McElroy of Old Belvedere only the bitterly familiar taste of repeated mistakes could be discerned on her palatte.
“We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the third time in a row. The difference between winning and losing is so miniscule and this was a hard, tough game which it always is against Blackrock.”
For the winners, they have a Cup final to prepare for. Their opponents however remained cloaked in mystery.
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