Chisom Ugwueru’s hat-trick propels UL Bohs to women’s AIL crown

Fiona Hayes’ side outscores Railway Union seven tries to six in the first women’s final held at the Aviva Stadium

UL Bohemians' Chisom Ugwueru scored three tries in her side's AIL win over Railway Union. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho
UL Bohemian 48 Railway Union 38

The best two club sides in the country served up an entertaining, try-laden encounter in the first Energia Women’s All-Ireland League final to be staged at the Aviva Stadium. A hat-trick by the UL Bohs’ right-winger Chisom Ugwueru was the highlight of the Limerick club’s seven tries to six win.

This completed a 14th title as well as a league and cup double, having also beaten Railway in the All-Ireland Cup final. On balance, the Fiona Hayes’ trained side just had a little bit more all-round attacking weapons to their game, be it their cutting edge out wide or lineout maul, and strength in depth too as they finished the stronger in the final quarter.

Kate Flannery pulled the strings at outhalf while fullback Aoife Corey had a fine game, scoring twice and making two try-saving interventions. But Raily way never went away, their spirit epitomised by the strong carrying of the remarkable 43-year-old Lindsay Peat.

Aoife O’Shaughnessy opened the scoring for Railway before Peat, the one-time Irish prop and now a number eight, powered over from outside the 22 off a well-worked strike move and pass by Nikki Caughey, who converted.


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Ugwueru’s strong finish put Bohs ahead before the lead was exchanged four times by half-time, as the Limerick team responded to tries by Railway’s Kayla Waldron and Maddy Aberg with tries by Éabha Nic Dhonnacha and Aoife Corey, the latter pouncing on Flannery’s crosskick to score her 20th try of the campaign.

Ugwueru’s second by the corner flag, after several video reviews, extended UL Bohs’ lead but, typical of this game, Railway captain Niamh Byrne scored. Again, UL Bohs seemed to be pulling clear when Brianna Heylmann dotted down from a powerful maul, but again back came Railway.

The remarkable Peat followed up another try to trim UL Bohs’ lead to 34-33 with another charge before Corey’s try-saving tackle denied Railway winger Ava Ryder in the corner, the fullback then making a vital intercept as well.

That was the turning point, Ugwueru completing her hat-trick from half-way from a clever cross kick by Flannery, who then created Corey’s second and landed both conversions. A sniping finish by Ailsa Hughes was a small consolation for Railway, but at least made for a fairer final scoreline.

Scoring sequence: 4 mins O’Shaughnessy try, Flannery con 7-0; 8 mins Peat try, Caughey con 7-7; 17 mins Ugwueru try, 12-7; 24 mins Waldron try, Caughey con 12-14; 24 mins Nic Dhonnacha try 17-14; 36 mins Aberg try, Caughey con 17-21; 39 mins Corey try 22-21; (half-time 22-21); 43 mins Ugwuero try 27-21; 46 mins Byrne try 27-26; 60 mins Heylmann try, Flannery con 34-26; 63 mins Peat try, Caughey con 34-33; 69 mins Ugwuero try, Flannery con 41-33; 78 mins Corey try, Flannery 48-33; 82 mins Hughes try 48-38.

UL BOHEMIAN: Aoife Corey; Chisom Ugwueru, Stephanie Nunan, Alana McInerney, Aoife O’Shaughnessy; Kate Flannery, Muirne Wall; Ciara O’Dwyer, Beth Buttimer, Fiona Reidy; Clodagh O’Halloran, Claire Bennett; Jane Clohessy, Brianna Heylmann, Chloe Pearse (capt).

Replacements: Éabha Nic Dhonnacha for McInerney (9 mins), Lily Brady for Clohessy (59 mins), Sarah Garrett for Haylmann (64 mins), Rachel Allen for Nunan (67 mins), Ciara McLoughlin for O’Dwyer, Nicola Sweeney for Reidy, Eva McCormack for Bennett, Abbie Salter-Townsend for Wall (all 78 mins).

Yellow card: Bennett (35 mins).

RAILWAY UNION: Aimee Clarke; Maddy Aberg, Niamh Byrne (capt), Kayla Waldron, Ava Ryder; Nikki Caughey, Ailsa Hughes; Grainne O’Loughlin, Meabh Keegan, Megan Collis; Keelin Brady, Faith Oviawe; Katie O’Dwyer, Molly Boyne, Lindsay Peat.

Replacements: Emily Gavin for Keegan, Sophie Barrett for O’Loughlin, Patricia Doyle for Brady (all 49 mins), Leah Tarpey for Clarke (57 mins), Claire Keohane for Waldron (66 mins), Dani Franada for Caughey (70),

Not used: Kirstie Stevenson, Salome Trauth.

Referee: Stuart Douglas (IRFU)

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times