UL Bohemians 12 – 10 Railway Union , University of Limerick
By Aisling Crowe
LEAGUE champions UL Bohemians took a giant leap towards a treble of titles this season with a narrow victory over Dublin side Railway Union in Sunday’s All Ireland Cup semi-final replay on the UL 4G pitch.
Four games between the two teams this season have been tight, thrilling contests with only two points separating the teams after more than 340 minutes of rugby.
It was the home team who took the initiative early on Sunday, captain Fiona Hayes opening the scoring with a try on 20 minutes. The lead was short-lived however as Railway Union’s Meg Kendall crossed for a try barely two minutes later.
In an exciting ten minute spell three tries were scored with full-back Edel Murphy claiming the third of those on 30 minutes and the Kerry goalkeeper added the conversion to give the home team a 12 – 5 lead at the break.
Railway Union hit back six minutes into the second half through left-winger Emer O’Mahony to reduce the deficit to a couple of points.
Despite an exhibition of attacking, open rugby from both teams O’Mahony’s try was the only score of the second half. The teams huffed, puffed but just couldn’t blow the defensive houses down.
“Our games against Railway have been very close,” admitted John Keane of UL Bohemians. “We are two of the top four teams in the country so I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. It was a good even game but we could have scored more today, as we could have against Belvo in the league final.”
For Railway Union, who went on a barnstorming run of wins during the second half of the season, there was a sense of pride at their achievements and huge optimism for the future.
John Cronin, director of rugby for the club, said: “We have been very competitive in every game we played this season and the only way is up from here. Bohs have been up there for years, winning leagues and cups, whereas we are only five years into it. We are building and have a very good underage system and have developed players who never played rugby before, we just lack that bit of experience that teams like Bohs and Belvo have in finals and closing out tight games but that will come and we have five players flying to Japan tomorrow with the Ireland Sevens Team and hope to have good representation in the World Cup squad when that is named.”
UL Bohemians are on the brink of a clean sweep of trophies this season, having won the Munster Cup and the All Ireland League. Should they beat Blackrock next Sunday in the All Ireland Cup Final it would complete a treble but Keane insisted such thoughts would be banished in the lead up to the match.
“We have led the charge over the season, finishing the league 16 points clear at the top but we are taking nothing for granted and just focusing on the game. We will play as if we are starting from scratch on Sunday.”