A round-up of women’s sport in March 2017
Slaughterneil win All-Ireland Club Championship
Derry club Slaughterneil became only the second side from Ulster to win the All Ireland Camogie Senior Club Championship when they overcame a resolute Sarsfields 1-10 to 0-11.
While it was the first championship for Slaughterneil, it was the Galway girls fifth consecutive loss at the final hurdle. Sarsfields drew level midway through the second-half, but despite laying siege on the Derry girls, they could not find the score to pull them ahead. Instead, Slaughterneil rallied, sealing the deal late on for the Derry side.
The Club finals were watched by a record aggregate attendance of 6,123 in Croke Park.
Cork Camogie march into league semi-finals
It appears that there is no stopping Cork at the moment as they completed round four of the league in Division 1 Group 1 with a 100% record and have already booked their place in the semi-finals.
The Leesiders racked up 3-19 to 0-8 against Waterford and 0-16 to 0-4 against Wexford in their two March outings.
Meanwhile, last year’s double winners Kilkenny, have responded to a shock February defeat to Wexford by winning their two games in March. Kilkenny host Cork in April in what is a mouth-watering repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final with the winners looking to grab top spot in Group 1.
Galway and Limerick have already qualified for the semi-finals in Division 1 Group 2 and will play each other for the right to top spot in April with Galway looking to maintain their 100% record in the league.
Katie Taylor remains undefeated as a professional
Katie Taylor has now won four consecutive bouts since she became a professional boxer last year. The Bray boxer cruised to an 80-72 points win over Bulgarian Milena Koleva at the Manchester Arena in March.
Taylor was obviously disappointed not to have stopped her opponent within the distance and called for the rounds in women’s pro boxing to be lengthened from two minutes to three, mirroring the men’s sport.
“We spar three-minute rounds all the time, I’m happy to go three-minute rounds. I think you would see a lot more knockouts in the women’s game,” added Taylor.
She will now fight on the undercard of the World Heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley on April 29th. Taylor will have another bout in the US over the summer and a possible European fight before a planned World Title shot in November, possibly in Dublin.
Ireland’s Grand Slam hope crushed by professional England
Ireland’s Grand Slam ambitions were cruelly put to the sword as England launched a four-try salvo in the last 30 minutes of a blustery St Patrick’s day night in Donnybrook to win the Grand Slam decider 34-7.
World Champions England, who are the only professional team in the Six Nations, had to endure some serious pressure from the Girls in Green during a very combative first hour. Despite a 5-0 lead and the advantage of the gale, England struggled to keep the Irish at bay in the first half and had to rely on crucial tackles to stop their whitewash being crossed.
Reflecting on the game, Ireland Head Coach Tom Tierney said:"We did get an opportunity (from a maul) but unfortunately we didn't take it. Obviously, England showed their class then for the last 30 minutes. It was a very, very tough game. Physically, the girls are beaten up inside (in the dressing room). That English team is very, very impressive,” he added.
Ireland will now look forward to hosting the World Cup in August, where the pool stages will be played in Dublin and the semi-finals and final will be played in Belfast.
Solid outing for the Irish at the European Indoors
Ireland sent a blend of youth and experience to the European Indoor Athletic Championships at the beginning of March. It was a challenging championships for the Irish athletes overall at the start of a new Olympic cycle. Team manager Patsy McGonagle said: “Each will have learned from exposure to the competitive environment of a European championship’s and with their coaches build on that as they regroup and move on.
Irish Performances in Belgrade:
Ciara Neville (Emerald) 60m – 8th Semi-final 7.49
Phil Healy (Bandon) 60m and 400m – 60m Semi-final 6th 7.40, 400m heat 3rd 54.80
Sinead Denny (DSD) 400m – heat 4th 54.20
Ciara Mageean (UCD) 1500m – final DNF
Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) 1500m – heat 6th 4:23.82
Republic of Ireland soccer squad take action
Though not technically March news, there has been an important development in Irish women’s football as the team take action based on the imbalance felt in their sport. On Wednesday, they decided not to attend training until the relevant issues were addressed. Their concerns were related to payments for loss of earnings and the general treatment of the squad, including inadequate changing facilities for some matches.
On Thursday, the footballers met with the FAI and thankfully a resolution was found. Commenting on the matter, the FAI said “discussions between both sides came to a successful conclusion earlier this morning, where all ‘Issues to be addressed’, as outlined by the players, were successfully resolved.” The statement said the players had “confirmed that they will return to training today, in preparation for their international fixture against Slovakia on Monday at Tallaght Stadium”.