St Gerard’s reached the Leinster Schoolgirls Premier League final for the first time as Sarah O’Loughlin’s twin strikes saw the Bray side see off Muckross Park 2-0 at Grange Road.She struck two superb backhand shots in the first half before the Donnybrook side fought back strong but were unable to break down the Gerard’s defence in the second half.
O’Loughlin was a lively presence throughout, tearing forward at midfield to back up the forward line and her first up shot 10 minutes in served warning, drawing a good save from Lauren Travers.
She made it 1-0 three minutes later from a neatly worked free, nicking the ball free and released a vicious reverse-stick strike from the left edge to the bottom right corner.
Her second effort was more central but produced the same result with another beautiful effort for the two-goal wedge at half-time.
While Gerard’s had the best of the first half, they were penned back for much of the second with Muckross seeking to find their way back into the match. Rachel McAuley drew a stunning stop from Lucy Ashmore in the early phases of the second half to fire a warning shot.
Ashmore made another couple of strong saves from a Muckross corner with 15 minutes left while Eva Moroney went close to killing off the tie on the counter.
Aoife Kelly’s constant buzzing presence up top also caused plenty of problems but Gerard’s defence was excellently marshalled by the superb Lena Tice, who doubles as an Irish senior cricket international, whose composure on the ball had plenty of shades of Megan Frazer to them. It ensured the clean sheet and a first ever final on the agenda for the Bray outfit.
They will meet High School in next Friday’s final after they overcame Mount Anville 3-1 in their semi-final. Saoirse O’Donoghue got the Rathgar school off to a flyer before Ruby Keating and Rachel Moore exchanged goals for a 2-1 lead.
Mount Anville bossed the play in the second half but could not break through and Ailish Long killed off the tie on the counter-attack.
In the Claudia Tierney Cup, Kathy Baker struck with the last touch of the game to give King’s Hospital a 2-1 win over St Andrew’s in their semi-final.
They will play Alexandra College in the final after the Milltown side prevailed on penalties ahead of Loreto Beaufort, winning the shoot-out 3-2 after Sophie Roonarinesingh and Laura Nagle shared goals in normal time.
Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Premier League, semi-finals: High School 3 (S O’Donoghue, R Keating, A Long) Mount Anville 1 (R Moore); St Gerard’s 2 (S O’Loughlin 2) Muckross Park 0
Claudia Tierney Cup, semi-finals: Alexandra College 1 (S Roopnarinesingh) Loreto Beaufort 1 (L Nagle), Alex win 3-2 on penalties; King’s Hospital 2 (J O’Leary, K Baker) St Andrew’s 1 (S McCready)