Gerard’s bounce back to claim Junior A league

Junior A League Final
St Gerard’s 2 (Mia Cullen, Ella Collins) High School 1 (Ruby Keating)

St Gerard’s denied High School the junior league and cup double on Tuesday afternoon in Grange Road to record a famous Junior A League victory.

Both sides showed early nerves but, after some initial High School forays forward, the Bray school combined well to break the deadlock.

On a counter attack, Sarah O’Loughlin switched the ball inside for Mia Cullen to finish off beautifully. In reply, High school continued to attack with Saoirse O’Donoghue and Ailish Long working well together and controlling the centre.

They came close on a couple of occasions all just wide or cleanly saved on the line. Amy Byrne also impressed clearing up at the back and driving forward but the half ended 1-0 in Gerard’s favour.

After the break, Laura Power came close to levelling before the Saints extended their lead further as they transferred the ball around the backline to where Ella Collins picked the ball up on the penalty spot and swept home.

It left St Gerard’s in a great position with Irish U-16 international Elena Tice showing her class in centre-midfield in a terrific tussle with Ailish Long.

High school got one back when a free from outside the 25 was awarded; Saoirse O’Donoghue swept the ball in for Ruby Keating to deflect home.

And they continued to push for an equaliser with Long’s reverse stick effort going just wide and Ellen McCullough missing out on the far post. They pulled their goalkeeper in the closing phases, too, but could not force extra time, adding to the disappointment in the senior league final.

But for St Gerard’s, it added to minor success a couple of years ago and bouncing back from their 1-0 defeat to Wesley in the same final 12 months ago.

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School Girls Premier Section A