Leinster Schoolgirl’s Senior Cup final
St Andrew’s 2 (S Brooks, S Campbell) Rathdown 2 (K Ray, A Barnwell), St Andrew’s win 3-2 on penalties
Specialist penalty shoot-out goalkeeper Phoebe Moore showed her value as she got a vital touch to deny Stephanie Burns, handing St Andrew’s their first Leinster schoolgirls Senior Cup title since 2010.
Moore came off the bench a minute before the end of extra time for Aoife Daly and while her involvement was short, it proved critical as she kept out three St Gerard’s efforts to see her side win out 3-2 at Grange Road.It was a repeat of the Senior Premier League final but bore few of the hallmarks of that decider which ended 3-0 in Andrew’s favour. Indeed, the sides know each other particularly well. Rebecca Andrews and Rachel O’Brien are first cousins while five players were part of the Glenageary Killiney National School sixth class team that won their league in 2008.
In front of a large and loud crowd, Karla Ray got Rathdown off to a great start as Megan MacQuillan picked out the striker unmarked just left of the penalty spot and she swept home in the seventh minute. It was a just reward for their powerful opening with Stephanie Burns a source of plenty of good attacking moments.
Megan Carroll was Andrew’s key player during this phase, using her flat-bat to break up numerous Rathdown tackles and limit the chances. It allowed the Booterstown school to build a base from which to get back into the game and they created three or four good openings before the break. The pick of those saw Serena Brooks ping a high reverse-stick shot at Tanna Tan who provided an equally strong glove to push the ball away.
Their momentum, though, was slowed by the half-time interval and Rathdown came out strong. Down the right wing, Amber Barnwell picked up the ball, swivelled to her left before cutting in to the circle and picked out a gap at the right post for a calm finish and 2-0.
Andrew’s replied quickly, getting one back with 21 minutes left when she pounced on Tan’s save. It popped up waist-high and the winger duly volleyed home. From there, her side camped on the Rathdown circle but saw two efforts ruled out for prior feet. The first of those disallowed goals was initially given as Sally Campbell smashed home a great shot from the top but an umpire’s consultation ruled it out while Tatiana Temperley’s push was also beaten by the whistle.
It looked like time might beat their efforts as Molly Bodimeade made a wealth of interceptions while Andrews and Sarah Hyland were exceptional at the back. But Andrew’s got their equaliser from their fifth penalty corner as Campbell’s hit went to the left post where injector Ellen Beirne helped scramble home, the ball popping up and in off the defender on the line, giving Tan no time to readjust.
Extra time found no winner, leading to a penalty shoot-out – the same method by which both schools reached the final. Moments before the full-time whistle, Andrew’s had swapped in Moore in goals in the same way as they had done in the semi-finals and it paid dividends.
Andrew’s led from the first round and while Rathdown twice got back on terms, Rachel O’Brien poked them ahead in the fifth round, setting up Moore for her final intervention.
It confirmed the double for St Andrew’s and they progress to the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl’s competition where they will meet Kilkenny College and Lurgan College along with the winners in Munster and Connacht.
St Andrews: A Daly, M Carroll, C Hennessy, C Spain, D Quinn, R O’Brien, S Campbell, S McCready, T Temperley, E Beirne, S Brooks
Subs: A Sarratt, C Larmour, R Merrey, K Bernsden, P Moore
Rathdown: T Tan, K Ray, R Andrews, S Burns, M MacQuillan, M Bodimeade, A Barnwell, L O’Leary, S Hyland, R Bourke, S Hickey
Subs: A Horgan, L Balfe, C Sexton, G Burns, M Meyer, H Hickey, M Doyle, S Evans