Lurgan the Kate Russell champs for third time in four years

Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl’s Championships
Lurgan College earned their third Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls title in four years as they completed the two-day competition with a perfect four wins from four, seeing off the challenges of Crescent Comprehensive and St Andrew’s.

As it transpired, the opening game proved the decisive factor when the Ulster champions came back from a goal behind to beat Crescent 3-2 with Tara McIlwaine firing the winner.

Lurgan captain Hannah Grieve lifts Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl's Championships trophy Pic: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Lurgan captain Hannah Grieve lifts Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl’s Championships trophy Pic: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Lurgan made the early inroads as Kathryn Edgar gave Lurgan a second minute lead before quick-fire goals from Ciara Leahy and Clodagh Moloney put the Munster champs in front. Irish Under-18 international Hannah Grieve, though, equalised with just 19 minutes gone before McIlwaine won the tie seven minutes into the second half.

A comfortable 4-0 win over Kilkenny College followed to put them in pole position at the end of day one and they moved to edge of the title on Friday morning with another four goal win, this time over Galway’s Salerno.

But when Crescent stormed to a six-goal win over Kilkenny, it meant that the Ulster side could have been pipped to the title by a couple of sides on goal difference.

Should St Andrew’s have beaten Lurgan in the tournament’s final match, Crescent would have won while the Booterstown hosts had an outside chance if they could summon an unlikely five-goal victory.

The Dubliners gave it a good rattle, dominating the second half and drawing some top stops from Michaela McNally while Hannah Grieve and Jill Costley were rock solid in the centre of defence. It meant that Kathryn Edgar’s quality reverse-stick shot into the roof of the net in the eighth minute saw Lurgan nab the 1-0 win they needed to land the trophy.

Earlier in the competition, Crescent’s eye-catching 4-3 win over St Andrew’s put them in good shape for their silver medal. Tatiana Temperley had broken the deadlock for the Dubliners only for Megan Mawhinney and Aebhfinn Bourke to swing the tie around on the quarter hour.

Sally Campbell equalised two minutes later only for Jenny Clein to make it 3-2 at half-time. Campbell levelled once more but Moloney fired home for a dramatic winner with 25 minutes left to reignite their tournament challenge.

And the Limerick side secured silver with a thumping 6-0 success over Kilkenny in the penultimate game of the competition with Michelle Barrett leading the charge with two powerful corner strikes. St Andrew’s ended third with two wins from their four games.

Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl’s Championships
Day one:
Crescent 2 (C Leahy, C Moloney) Lurgan 3 (K Edgar, H Grieve, T McIlwaine); Kilkenny 5 (C Holmes 2, K Geoghegan, S Eager, E Duncan) Salerno 0; St Andrew’s 3 (S Campbell 2, T Temperley) Crescent 4 (M Mawhinney, A Bourke, J Clein, C Moloney); Lurgan 4 (J Morrow 2, H Grieve, S Hamilton) Kilkenny 0; St Andrew’s 5 (S McCready, R Merrey, S Brooks, K Bernsden, S Campbell) Salerno 0

Day two: Crescent College 4 (C Leahy, C Moloney, C Coffey, M Mawhinney) Salerno 0; St Andrew’s 2 (R Merrey, S Campbell) Kilkenny 1 (K Geoghegan); Salerno 0 Lurgan 4 (T McIlwaine, S Bann, J Costley, J Morrow); Crescent 6 (M Barrett 2, A Bourke 2, M Mawhinney, own goal) Kilkenny 0; Lurgan 1 (K Edgar) St Andrews 1

Standings: 1. Lurgan 12pts (+10) 2. Crescent 9pts (+10) 3. St Andrew’s 6pts (+4) 4. Kilkenny 3pts (-6) 5. Salerno 0pts (-18)

School Girls Premier Section A