Scoil Chríost Rí 3-10 Loreto Clonmel 2-10
All Ireland Post Primary School Senior ‘A’ Championship Final
Scoil Chríost Rí have done it! The Portlaoise school have been crowned post-primary senior A champions for the first time in the history after a nail-biting thriller against Loreto Clonmel.
For long periods of the first half it looked as through the senior ‘A’ trophy could be heading to Tipperary but a determined Scoil Chríost Rí’s battling mentality saw them finish out three point winners today.
Goalkeeper Aoife Hyland-Conlon was the deserving player of the match, blocking five almost-guaranteed goals and stood up to be counted when her school needed her the most.
SCR started on the backfoot from much of their kickouts as Loreto consistently won each of the balls sent down the field from Aoife Hyland-Conlon.
Kellyann Hogan opened the scoring as Loreto Clonmel were first out of the blocks and on the scoreboard.
Caoimhe Mulcahy followed up with a point to leave them two clear and it was evident that this was the start of a 60 minute battle.
SCR breathed a sigh of relief as Aoife Hyland-Conlon denied Ava Fennessy a chance goal chance and palmed her shot over the bar. This was swiftly followed by another Loreto point from Ava Fennessy.
It was 12 minutes before SCR got on the scoreboard through an Orla Hennessy point.
Four minutes later Erone Fitzpatrick dealt the fatal blow, landing a goal which sent the Portlaoise side a point ahead.
However Loreto captain Anna Carey brought it back to a draw before midfielder Kellyann Hogan pushed them one ahead by slicing the ball over the crossbar.
Conlon Hyland would prove to be a saviour for SCR in the first-half. She denied a second goal chance to keep the deficit to one, while Niamh Crowley and Rebecca Reddin defended for their lives.
At the opposite end of the field, Emma Lawlor weaved through the Clonmel defence to level it while Isabella O’Toole struck them one ahead.
An Ava Fennessy free brought the sides level yet again before Erone Fitzpatrick’s tenacious hard work paid off it’s dividends to the fullest. The SCR captain was the catalyst for her sides second goal, sending it in to Orla Hennessy who rarely makes a mistake in front of the posts.
Hennessy hammered it in to the bottom left corner of the Loreto net to give SCR a three point lead at the interval – 2-3 to 0-6.
Orla Hennessy secured the first point of the second half, as Emma Lawlor found the Timahoe woman across the box to bring them four ahead.
Tension turned to hope as a foul on Emma Lawlor in the square meant a penalty and yellow card for Loreto’s Gretna Nugent. However the penalty hit the left upright and all SCR received was a converted free from Fitzpatrick.
It would be Sarah Larkin who secured SCR’s third goal but as soon as the Stradbally woman punched the air in joy Loreto Clonmel were causing havoc at the opposing end. Saoirse Keating wove through the defence at struck at the heart of the SCR defence – earning a goal for her side. It was 3-5 to 1-9 with 48 minutes gone.
Substitute Julia Cahill and Shauna Dooley earned two vital points for SCR to bring them four ahead.
Alice Dunne was a force to be reckoned with in defence while Emma Lawlor powered through the crowds – not once but twice- to earn her second and third points of the game.
Loreto had a super sub in their midst and as Ailis O’Meara struck Loreto’s second goal after 57 minutes everyone in St John Lockes was on their feet out of anxiety or truimph.
However sheer will, determination and an abundance of talent saw Scoil Chríost Rí hold onto the game to be crowned senior A champions.
SCORERS – Scoil Chríost Rí: Orla Hennessy 1-2, Erone Fitzpatrick 1-1 (0-1 frees) Sarah Larkin 1-0, Emma Lawlor 0-4, Isabella O’Toole 0-1 Shauna Dooley 0-1, Julia Cahill 0-1
Loreto Clonmel: Caoimhe Mulcahy 1-0, Ailis O’Meara 1-0, Ava Fennessy 0-3 (0-2 frees), Caoimhe Mulcahy 0-1, Kellyann Hogan 0-2, Anna Carey 0-3, Aine Fitzgerald 0-1
SCOIL CHRÍOST RÍ: Aoife Hyland-Conlon (Portlaoise); Niamh Crowley (St Paul’s), Rebecca Reddin (Portlaoise), Sarah Fleming (Portlaoise); Ciara Byrne (Portlaoise), Zoe Keegan (St Paul’s), Lisa Keane (The Heath); Alice ); Isabella O’Toole (St Paul’s), Sarah Larkin (Timahoe); Erone Fitzpatrick (Park-Ratheniska), Jenny Murphy (Timahoe), Emma Lawlor (St Paul’s); Shauna Dooley (Portlaoise), Alice Dunne (Timahoe), Orla Hennessy (Timahoe) Subs: Julia Cahill for Z Keegan (HT)
LORETO CLONMEL: Eimear McKeown; Sadhbh Hallinan, Veerle van der Wal, Greta Nugent; Niamh Martin; Brigid’s Valuntaite, Anna Morris; Kellyann Hogan, Bríd McMaugh; Áine Fitzgerald, Anna Carey, Eimear Quirke; Caoimhe Mulcahy, Ava Fennessy, Saoirse Keating Subs: Ailis O’Meara for S Keating (54 minutes)
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow)