St Andrew’s will hope to complete the perfect year with yet another unique accolade from a year laden with first-time achievements. Both their senior boys and girls completed the league and cup double this year and, over the course of Thursday and Friday, they will aim to add the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl championships on home turf.
Should they annex that title, they will become the first school to land both All-Ireland senior titles in the same year. Wesley College and Kilkenny have won both titles but both came with well over five years between their boys and girls’ victories, showing the incredible nature of such a success.
Standing in their way are Connacht’s Salerno, South East’s Kilkenny College, Munster’s Crescent and Ulster’s Lurgan, all bringing plenty to the table.
Lurgan have won the title twice in the past three years but quite a few of their leading lights of last year like Serena and Bethany Barr have graduated, making them a little bit of a new look force with Naomi Costley and Alex Hurst their key players.
Kilkenny College went close last year with Anna Boland and Emma Duncan to the fore. The latter is still in the mix and has been named in the Irish U-18 panel for the second year running to lead their charge from midfield.
Salerno’s Ellie Noone is another Irish panelist as they won back the Connacht crown from Colaiste Iognaid.
Crescent’s Clodagh Moloney has plenty of experience at the top level with Catholic Institute and has played a part in her school’s great run in recent years, winning Munster’s top honour four times in the last five years.
For hosts St Andrew’s, they will be looking to win the title for a second time having landed the title in 2010 when the likes of Chloe Watkins, Gillian Pinder and Niamh Atcheler were in the line-up.
This year’s side have shown both class and grit to win their double, coming from two goals down in the cup against Rathdown to win that title. Megan Carroll at sweeper is a fine distributor from the back while Sally Campbell, Rachel O’Brien and Serena Brooks provide strength and speed going forward with the likes of Tatiana Temperley and Ellen Beirne up front.
Action gets underway at 9.30am on Thursday and looks set to go down to the wire on Friday afternoon.Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl’s Championships (all at St Andrew’s College, Booterstown)
Thursday, March 27: Crescent College vs Lurgan, 9.30am; Kilkenny College vs Salerno, 11am; St Andrew’s vs Crescent, 12.30pm; Lurgan vs Kilkenny, 2pm; St Andrew’s vs Salerno, 3.30pm
Friday, March 28: Crescent vs Salerno, 9.30am; St Andrew’s vs Kilkenny, 11am; Salerno vs Lurgan, 12.30pm; Crescent vs Kilkenny, 2pm; St Andrew’s vs Lurgan, 3.30pm
Tournament Director: Dave Kenna
Umpires Manager: Inge Bevers Umpires: Fiona Davitt, Linda Johnston, John Pearson, Louise Daly, Gill Hohn