Rathdown and Andrew’s make Beaufort and High School pay penalty in cup semi-finals

Leinster Schoolgirl’s Senior Cup semi-final
Rathdown 1 (K Ray) Loreto Beaufort 1 (N McLoughlin), Rathdown win 4-3 on penalties

Lauren O’Leary produced a delightful shimmy under severe pressure to earn Rathdown a place in the Leinster Schoolgirl’s Senior Cup final for the second successive year, seeing off Loreto Beaufort in dramatic fashion in Grange Road.

She slipped home the crucial sudden death penalty in the seventh round to finally see off a Beaufort side that will rue not taking their chances in normal time.

Rathdown's Lauren O'Leary kept her cool to score the crucial penalty against Loreto Beaufort Pic: Adrian Boehm

Rathdown’s Lauren O’Leary kept her cool to score the crucial penalty against Loreto Beaufort Pic: Adrian Boehm

Loreto had trailed from the first minute when Amber Barnwell and O’Leary had combined to allow Karla Ray to pop home from close range at the second attempt, giving Rathdown a perfect start.

They forced the issue for much of the first half with Steph Burns the driving factor from midfield as the Glenageary school remained one up going into the break.

Beaufort regrouped in the second period with Jessica McGirr providing a virtuoso performance as they created a string of good opportunities. Sarah Nagle was only denied by Sarah Hyland’s last ditch tackle while Barnwell took a McGirr corner shot off the line. Rebecca Andrews nicked the ball off Emily Wright when she was well-placed, too, before the equaliser finally came three minutes from time.

McGirr’s thunderbolt was saved by Tanna Tan but Beaufort recovered it quickly, working the ball to Niamh McLoughlin on the right post where she popped the hall home.

It meant extra time and subsequently a penalty one-on-one shoot-out. Like normal time, Rathdown took the initiative, building a 2-0 lead while enjoying some fortune as McGirr was unlucky to be beaten by the eight-second whistle when poised to score.

Beaufort fought back to level after five rounds but Tan saved in round seven and O’Leary out-foxed Hannah Mullen for the vital score, keeping their hopes of a first Senior Cup title alive.

Loreto Beaufort: H Mullen, M O’Meara, S McMahon, E Gray, S Nagle, M O’Donoghue, S O’Connor, J McGirr, L Mellon, N McLoughlin, E Wright, L Nagle, C Murnin, N Lyons, A Kelly, A O’Leary

Rathdown: T Tan, K Ray, R Andrews, S Burns, M MacQuillan, M Bodimeade, A Barnwell, S Hickey, L O’Leary, L Balfe, S Hyland, R Burke, A Horgan, M Doyle

High School 1 (R Keating) St Andrews 1 (R O’Brien), St Andrew’s win 5-4 on penalties
St Andrew’s remain on course for schoolgirl’s hockey’s Senior double as they scraped through to the final of the cup via penalties, the second semi-final of the day to be decided in that fashion at Grange Road.

St Andrew's Sally Campbell had a superb game against High School Pic: Adrian Boehm

St Andrew’s Sally Campbell had a superb game against High School Pic: Adrian Boehm

Indeed, it was a controversial shoot-out in the end with Andrew’s awarded a penalty goal when High School goalkeeper Emer Brennan illegally kicked the ball outside her circle after making an initial save from Sally Campbell.

With the eight second clock still running, it meant she was penalised despite having cleanly denied Sally Campbell and it proved pivotal as the initial phase of five penalties ended 4-4 as a result. Campbell then dusted herself down to take her side’s first sudden death penalty to win the tie after Ruth Finney had forced Saoirse O’Donoghue wide and send the Premier League champs into the final.

While it was a slightly messy way to go through, Andrew’s were certainly the stronger side during normal time but their inability to score from any of their nine corners meant they were in danger of missing out.

Ruby Keating’s smartly taken goal following some sharp passes in the circle put High School one up in the 13th minute. From there, it was backs to the wall stuff as the excellent Ailish Long denied Campbell on the line while Brennan’s save count ran into double figures.

Campbell proved an elusive force moving forward from midfield and created a series of chances while Ellen Beirne and Tatiana Temperley combined for what should have been the levelling goal only for the latter to slip the chance just wide.

Their break came when Rachel O’Brien – a Leinster Under-21 player – levelled with 11 minutes to go with a fine solo goal, cutting in from the left wing before powerfully firing home and they ultimately got their break in the penalties to keep the double dream alive.

High School: E Brennan, J Stewart, E Murphy, L Barlow, H Carim, A Long, A Byrne, E Canning, S Fox, S O’Donoghue, R Keating, E Conheady, M Jennings

St Andrews: A Daly, M Carroll, C Hennessy, C Spain, D Quinn, R O’Brien, A Sarratt, S Campbell, S McCready, T Temperley, E Beirne, S Brooks, K Bernsden, J Meates, H Marshall, R Finney

School Girls Premier Section A