An Aoife Murphy goal two minutes from time capped an amazing day’s hockey in Limerick at the Kate Russell All-Ireland schools as Loreto Kilkenny inflicted Alexandra College’s first defeat of the season in stunning fashion.
It left all five sides in the competition locked on three points after day one with Ulster’s Lurgan College holding a marginal edge by one on goal difference to leave the competition as open as possible.
Murphy secured a dramatic 4-3 win to hand Loreto the three points, a tally the South East team – who featured seven of the school’s team who won an All-Ireland school’s camogie title a fortnight ago – looked to have blown after their initial 3-0 advantage was wiped out as treble-chasing Alex stormed back to tie the game up with just five minutes to go.
Grace Walsh – sister of cats’ hurling star Tommy – and Murphy had given the Kilkenny side a commanding lead but goals from the Dublin side’s youth international panellists Millie O’Donnell, Emily Beatty and Hannah McDermott tied the game with five minutes remaining. Murphy, though, burst their bubble when she popped up to end a memorable tie and day’s action in Dooradoyle.
For Alex, having fought back, a draw would have put them in pole-position on day two, allied to their earlier 2-1 win over Lurgan College.
That win came courtesy of a Hannah McDermott double inside 12 minutes, the Irish U-16 international continuing the form which saw her pouch the silver-goal winner which got Alex to this stage.
But Kilkenny inflicted the defeat and they now lie level with hosts Crescent CC, Lurgan and Galway’s Colaiste Iognaid on three points from their first day’s action, each picking up a win and a loss.
Lynsey Trainor – a winner in 2009 – has been powering Galway’s Jes in her third go at this competition, firing three goals in her side’s two games.
It included a game-breaking pair against Loreto Kilkenny in a 3-2 win but her third strike was in vain as her school fell at the hands of Crescent, youth Olympian Roisin Upton on the scoresheet in a 3-2 win for the Dooradoyle outfit.
Lurgan, meanwhile, are nominally top overnight as the only side with a positive goal difference; their 3-1 win was courtesy of goals from Kim Scott and Natalie and Bethany Barr.
Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships, Crescent College Comprehensive, Limerick, Day One:
Crescent CC 1 (A McMahon) Lurgan College 3 (N Barr, B Barr, K Scott); Coláiste Iognáid 3 (L Trainor 2, C Power) Loreto Kilkenny 2 (G Walsh, A Murphy); Lurgan College 1 (G McBride) Alexandra College 2 (H McDermott 2); Crescent CC 3 (R Upton, O Hickey, C Sullivan) Coláiste Iognáid 2 (L Trainor, M Russell); Loreto Kilkenny 4 (G Walsh 2, A Murphy 2) Alexandra College 3 (H McDermott, E Beatty, M O’Donnell)
Standings: 1. Lurgan College 3pts (+1) 2. Alexandra College 3pts (0) 3. Colaiste Iognaid 3pts (0) 4. Loreto Kilkenny 3pts (0) 5. Crescent CC 3pts (-1)
Friday’s fixtures: 9.30am: Colaiste Iognaid v Lurgan College; 11am: Crescent CC v Loreto Kilkenny; 12.30pm: Colaiste Iognaid v Alexandra College; 2pm: Loreto, Kilkenny v Lurgan College; 3.30pm: Crescent CC v Alexandra College.
** For more of Ivan O’Riordan’s photos from the event, check out the recently added section of the Irish Hockey Photographers website