The month of April was jam packed with events for sportswomen locally, nationally and internationally. Below we have highlighted just a few of those events that made the headlines between March and May.
Kilkenny 2-7 Cork 0-10
Kilkenny continued their winning streak, with their third national title in 18 months. They provided an all-round team performance that bodes well for the Championship. Last September, in the All-Ireland Final, Cork struggled to work out Kilkenny. The coaching staff and management did a fine job in creating the tactics which quashed the usually sharp free scoring Cork attack. It was more of the same this time around as they created the space that delivered two priceless goals, as well as a platform for the win.
The Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team continued their fine run of form with a comfortable 1-0 victory over Slovakia at Tallaght Stadium on April 10th. Stephanie Roche’s second-half penalty was the difference as Head Coach Colin Bell got a win in his first home game since his appointment in February. Dave Connell’s U-19s picked up their first points of the UEFA’s Under-19 Championship Elite Round after a two-nil win over Ukraine in Limerick.
At the Irish Swimming Championships in the National Aquatic Centre at the start of April, there were some standout performances from some of Ireland's best female swimmers. Some of the highlights were; 16 year old Mona McSharry who swept the women’s breaststroke events adding 200m gold to her 50m and 100m titles; Lisburn’s Rachel Bethel swam to four Irish Freestyle titles in the competition; Danielle Hill of Larne also claimed 4 National titles with wins in the 50m & 100m Freestyle along with the 50m & 100m Backstroke.
Athletics: Modern Pentathlon
Liberty Insurance Ambassador, Natalya Coyle claimed the Senior Women’s National title in the National Sports Campus on April 15th. The Olympian was challenged all the way by Kate Coleman and Jess Stallard but prevailed off of the back of an excellent combined run and Fencing performance.
Also on April 2nd, Garda Cycling Clubs’s Eve McCrystal confirmed her dominance in the National Road Series in the women’s Elite Road Race at the 80km Nenagh Classic women’s event. Having won the first two races in the Women’s National Road Series, McCrystal leads with 80 points, while Katharine Smyth and Claire McIlwaine share second on 65 points. The National Road Series is a seven race series, with points counting for each race. Double points will be awarded for the last event on the calendar.
Jessica Harrington became the first female trainer to win the Irish Grand National and Gold Cup as favourite Our Duke romped home in the Irish Grand National at Leopardstown on April 15th. The 9/2 favourite, ridden by Robbie Power, raced home in front for Harrington to clinch the biggest prize in Irish jump racing just one month after Sizing John won in Cheltenham. Jessica Harrington was the first woman to be announced as part of the 2017 “Sport for Business, 50 most influential women in Irish sport” which is sponsored by Liberty Insurance.
Katie Taylor duly won her 5th Professional bout and her first Pro strap, the WBA Inter-Continental belt, with a comprehensive defeat of gutsy German Nina Meinke (5-0-1) at the iconic Wembley Stadium, on Saturday night. The fight was an eliminator for the WBA World Lightweight title. It was also on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua/Wladimir Klitschko IBF World heavyweight title decider, won in sensational style by Joshua, who like the Bray woman struck Gold also in London at the 2012 Olympics.
Amanda Serrano made women’s boxing history on Saturday night, April 22nd by becoming the first female fighter in boxing history to win world titles in five weight divisions. Serrano knocked out Dahiana Santana in the eighth-round to win a vacant women’s bantamweight belt at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Serrano, 28, has also won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight.
Finally, US tennis star Serena Williams returned to the world number one spot in the latest WTA rankings released, days after announcing her pregnancy. The 35-year-old Williams took the top ranking from Angelique Kerber after triumphing at the Australian Open for her record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title.
That concludes the round up of the best women in sports from both around the country and around the globe. Next month we look forward to the final preparations for the Camogie Championships, women’s FA Cup final and the start of the French Open.