St Andrews retain Junior league

St Andrew’s junior girls retained their league crown this afternoon at Belfield with an impressive win over Alexandra College, denying the Milltown school a senior/junior double.

Andrew’s were the stronger throughout, though Alex created the odd nervous moment from the skills of Emily Beatty and a zinging reverse from Erica Hinkson. Those chances were sporadic, though, as Laura Pinder and Sadhbh Hynes marshalled their defensive line brilliantly.

The Booterstown school’s first chance came after barely 40 seconds with Hayley Sarratt found in space at the back post but her first-time effort cleared the bar. Julie Murphy’s persistence down the right flank forced a pair of corners as her side camped in the Alex half but their defence held firm.

And they gradually grew into the game. Hanna McDermott led the first break-out. Her cross found a foot before deflecting into the net, winning a corner but agonisingly missed an attacker’s stick. Andrew’s continued to press but could not find a crucial opener.

Early in the second half, McDermott almost had a one-on-one chance but Siobhan Cummins came off her line quickly to clear the danger while Kate O’Malley needed to be alert in defence to nick in ahead of Hinkson.

But, as Alex confidence grew, they were stung by Pinder’s penalty corner strike. The stop was intially missed but the ball was cleverly played back into the defender who found the left corner from 12 yards.

Hinkson flashed a brilliant reverse off the side netting within 30 seconds of the restart coming close to a leveller but Andrew’s were in no mood for second chances. Murphy made the decisive run down the left side of the circle. There looked little on but an upright reverse cross was clipped goalward and Sarah Smith darted in to get the crucial touch and take the title with a 2-0 win.

* For more pictures from the game, click here while Lindie Naughton’s pics can be seen here

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