Railway Women’s 1st XV ended their first league campaign with a win over Clondalkin in the Leinster Division 3 Final, last Saturday in Athy.
Railway had produced a perfect league campaign going into the final, having finished top of the league table, with 8 wins from 8, 8 bonus points, 378 points scored and 0 points conceded.
On the back of the Railway Men’s success the previous week in capturing the Leinster Division 2b league title, the girls were seeking to join the men’s team as league title holders and ensure the strength that is Railway Union RFC was on display.
Clondalkin provided the opposition for the third time this season. While they may have had two defeats earlier against Railway in the season, they put the Railway girls under pressure from the start. Uncontested scrums and a number of penalties conceded by Railway ensured Clondalkin much possession and territory in the early part of the first half. However, the dominant Railway defence ensured this passed with no scores conceded.
Railway got their first try when the forwards pushed deep into the Clondalkin 22 setting the backline in motion for Eimear Flannery to score the first of her three tries. With the score line at 5-0 it was only when two more tries from Therese Grogan and Mere Baker were added that the Railway girls gradually got into their rhythm. The last 20 minutes of the first half saw Railway display their dominance with further scores from Eimear Martin and Eimear Flannery to leave the half time score 25-0.
Momentum in the second half was slow with numerous stoppages not really allowing the game to flow. However, some well executed phases ensured Railway added to the score line with another try from Therese Grogan, one from Eimear Flannery and three from Kim Flood.
A number of replacements saw the depth that is within the squad and the progression of many of the girls who are coming through the development channel. Clondalkin fought on and as they had done early in the first half created a potential scoring opportunity but again, the Railway defence could not be broken. Railway pushed on and closed out the game to leave the final score 52-0.
The performance of the day came from the team itself, with each player working hard and supporting one another throughout the 80 minutes. An imposing Railway pack had the edge and their ever impressive work rate allowed the spark in the backline to take advantage of the pressure they created.
A lot of work is required of the team ahead of the Cup which will see the Railway girls challenged by teams from higher divisions, but as a first league final goes, they don’t get much sweeter than winning with a perfect record.
Thanks go to Athy RFC for hosting the finals day and a special thank you to all those who travelled to show their support to the women’s team.
The girls were delighted to have joined the Men’s 1st XV as league winners, but even more delighted to hear at Sunday’s celebrations that the Men’s 2nd XV joined them as league winners as their nearest challengers lost a crucial fixture, confirming the title for Railway. As Charlie Hurley remarked, “You wait seventeen years for a league title, then three come along at once.”