High School conquer Killiney for Junior A crown

Leinster Schoolgirl’s Junior A Cup final
High School, Rathgar 2 (Kate Hunter-Hanley, Rachel Delaney) Holy Child, Killiney 0

Kate Hunter-Hanley and Rachel Delaney fired final quarter goals to earn High School the first major schoolgirl’s title of the year at Grange Road yesterday, getting the better of Holy Child, Killiney. In so doing, it got the Rathgar side a modicum of revenge for their penalty strokes loss to the same opposition two years ago at minor level.

Hunter-Hanley broke the deadlock, racing onto Molly Whelan’s deft through ball before taking her time to slot home. And the victory was complete when Saoirse O’Donoghue laid up for Delaney to sweep home a sweetly worked penalty corner move.

Killiney rallied with Abbie Russell’s hit dinging the post while Alannah Carragher was drawn into several fine saves as High School held firm for their first win at this level since 2003.

It was richly deserved after a controlled performance throughout but it took a while to convert territorial advantage into goals after a high tempo performance from midfielders Emma Canning, Ailish Long and the scampering Amy Byrne.

Amid the early exchanges, Ellen McCullough fired the first warning shot before O’Donoghue, ghosting forward from sweeper, almost laid on the perfect chance for Hannah Moloney. In response, Killiney threatened sporadically on the break while Alice Kinsella cleaned up at the back. The diminutive Russell – a Leinster U-16 interprovincial starlet – used her 3D skills to great effect and hit her side’s first shot in anger two minutes into the second half.

But High School were always in the box seat and were in front with 13 minutes to go from Hunter-Hanley’s opener. The response was almost immediate as vice-captain Rebecca Meaney twice stung Carragher’s pads.

Those blocks proved invaluable as, four minutes later, Delaney knocked in the clincher, the injector found in great position, unattended at the left post.

Holy Child did launch a rousing comeback, earning four penalty corners down the stretch, Russell’s thumping effort onto the metalwork the pick of the shots, while Emma Mathews was a constant threat but also could not find a way past Carragher.

The competition was moved from its traditional March date to the first half of the school year to help alleviate fixture congestion around mock exam time.

High School: A Carragher, R Delaney, G O’Marcaigh, L Barlow, K Hunter-Hanley, A Long, A Byrne, E Canning, L Power, E McCullough, S O’Donoghue, H Moloney, M Jennings, R Keating, M Whelan

Holy Child, Killiney: J Appleby, A Russell, L Bisgood, J Cleary, M Owens, J Deane, N McGann, A Deane, R Meaney, E Casey, S Ni Nuallain, E Mathews, A O’Shea, A Kinsella, C Keogh, T Murphy

School Girls Premier Section A