Rathdown make Senior Cup breakthrough; quarter-final round-up

Senior Schoolgirl’s Cup quarter-finals
Rathdown 3 (S Evans, M MacQuillan, S Burns) Teresians 0

Rathdown reached the Senior Cup semi finals for the first time in the school’s history as they made it to the final four without conceding a single goal en route, getting the better of the Teresian School in the quarters.

In the earlier rounds, they put St Raphaela’s and Newpark to the sword with wide margin defeats 6-0 and 5-0 respectively in the earlier rounds.

Against Teresians, they first half started with Rathdown having several attempts on goal before Irish U-18 International Sarah Evans put away Rathdown’s first goal, netting with a superb volley on the rebound.

They remained on top throughout the first half and scored another when Megan MacQuillan applied a fantastic sliding finish. And, with their midfield trio of Slaine Fitzpatrick, Leinster U-16 Amber Barnwell and Stef Burns controlling the midfield and creating the play, they held firm in the second half. A third goal came from their first short corner with a cracking finish by Burns and while Teresians fought right to the end, Rathdown were deserving winners of their place in the final four where they will meet High School.

High school 3 (E McCullough, S O’Donoghue, S Fox) Wesley 2 (S Quill, Rachel Coleman)
After a thrilling Senior Premier league final, High School and Wesley met once again in the quarter final of the senior cup with both sides having a lot to prove.

As in the Premier decider, Wesley broke the deadlock in the first nine minutes, winning a short corner on the counter which Irish U-16 Sara Quill found the back of the net via a deflection off a High School foot. The Ballinteer school continued to press hard and force mistakes but, as the game went on, High School grew into the game, winning several short corners with Jenny Long controlling the right side once more.

Evie McCullough equalised when Saoirse O’Donoghue picked the ball up on halfway line, dribbling at speed before switching to McCullough who slotted into the bottom corner.

In the aftermath, there were first-class attacks from sisters Jenny and Ailish Long, working well together, but no further goals meant it finished 1-1 at half time.

Ten minutes after the interval, the Rathgar side took the lead when O’Donoghue was seeking out McCullough on the penalty spot but she missed the ball, creating confusion and the ball looped into the far corner.

And they were 3-1 up from a corner which Carolyn Crampton had initially saved well. McCullough followed up and fired just wide of the goal from where Sarah Fox somehow scrambled over the line at the near post.

Wesley stormed right back into the game, though, from a High School corner. They broke fast with Quill being the core of the attack, finding Rachael Coleman to put away, making for a thrilling final 15 minutes. Wesley won a corner on the final whistle but Ailish Long blocked the initial shot and Jenny Long took an air-borne follow-up off the line to just about hold on.

Wesley College: C Crampton, H McKay, M Berber, L Haughton, R Allen, A Kinlan, C Samuel, E Reid, R Esmonde, S Foudy, J van der Flier, R Coleman, S Quill, L Hunt, K Armitage, K Telford

High School: L McCann, Z Reichantal, E McCullough, K Barlow, L Rankin, S Fox, A Long, E Conheady, E Canning, H Carrim, L Barlow, S O’Donoghue, J Long, E Murphy, J Stewart, S McManus

Wesley V High School Hockey – Images by Aidan Tarbett

Mount Anville 3 (Philippa Cotter 2, Sophie Twomey) Muckross 0
Mount Anville set up a repeat of the Claudia Tierney Cup final as their victory over Muckross saw them through to play Alexandra College in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the competition, they made it through the opening rounds with impressive wins over Loreto Foxrock (3-0) and Loreto Beaufort (4-0) with the likes of Sophie Twomey, Sara Twomey, Philippa Cotter, Cailin Murphy and Jane Fennelly driving the side forward.

And they carried that momentum through to the Muckross tie, starting brilliantly when, in the first 30 seconds, Jessica Murphy laid off a pass to vice-captain Cailin Murphy on the over lap.

She crossed into the circle to oncoming Philippa Cotter who got a vital touch to score Mount Anville;s opener. Cotter also got the second when U-16 Leinster star Georgina Spillane drove in from the right and took an early shot which was well saved by Kate McGrath, the Muckross goalkeeper, but Cotter took advantage of the rebound.

Muckoss came back fighting in the second half, putting Mount Anville under a lot of pressure. Suzanne Kelly, though, kept her composure to make crucial tackles which kept Mount Anville clear while Ellen Donovan and Ciara Callan did well to maintain their clean sheet. Midway through the second half, Sophie Twomey crushed Muckross’ hopes of a come-back when she scored Mount Anville’s third goal.

Mount Anville Cup Squad: Ellen Donovan(GK), Ciara Callan(GK), Sally-Ann Appleby, Suzanne Kelly, Rachel Dooley O’Carroll, Jane Fennelly(C), Cailin Murphy(VC), Rachel Noble(VC), Kate Meenan, Jessica Murphy, Sara Twomey, Georgina Spillane, Ailbhe Marsh, Ella Fennelly, Sophie Twomey, Philippa Cotter, Vicki Walsh, Patricia McGown, Emer Flynn
Coaches; M.McCarthy J.McDonnell

Alexandra College 1 (Rachel Gray) King’s Hospital 0
Rachel Gray’s early corner was all that separated Alexandra College from an emerging King’s Hospital side in a hotly contested tie played in front of a large crowd, led by rival mascots, creating a superb atmosphere.

It came from the third of a series of penalty corners from a very tidy variation as Alex started well against their less experienced opponents at this level who initially struggled with the occasion.

A change of tactics ten minutes in stemmed the tide and eased the early pressure. It meant Alex held a decent amount of ball but found chances few and far between with the outstanding Katie Miller making an excellent stick save to deny Hannah McDermott while also blocking Anna Roopnarinesingh’s rasping shot.

KH had their moments in the second half with Kim Baker in midfield and second year Sophie Moore among the stand-out players. And they drew the best from Aisling Nugent in the closing five minutes from their best chance but a smash and grab draw was not to be and Alex made it back to the final four.

Alex had made it through to the last eight thanks to big wins over Notre Dame (6-0) and Mount Temple (7-1) and now look forward to a shot at redemption against Mount Anville who beat them 3-1 in the Claudia Tierney final.

For KH, it ended an upbeat cup run that has seen the school progress quickly and has potential for the future with six fourth years in the side as well as players from third and second year.

Indeed, it is the first year since the school stopped Saturday school and it has been of huge benefit for their players, freeing them up to play club hockey. Glenanne, Weston, Railway Union and, particularly, North Kildare have been proactive to work in tandem with the school to provide another hockey outlet in which to progress.

Senior Schoolgirl’s Cup semi-final draw (both at Grange Road, Wednesday, February 27): Alexandra College vs Mount Anville, 2pm; High School vs Rathdown, 4pm

School Girls Premier Section A