Alexandra College lead the way after day one of the Subway All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championship thanks to back to back wins over Salerno and Loreto Kilkenny.
It leaves them with the only remaining perfect record in the five-team competition but they know they will face huge challenges from Limerick hosts Crescent and Ulster champions Methodist College on day two.
Early in the day, Crescent struck late in the game to earn a 2-2 draw with Methody thanks to Meabh O’Sullivan’s second goal of the game.
Alex struggled to hit full tempo against Salerno in their opening game but did build a lead through Issy Delamar and Abi Acheson early in the second half. Meadhbh Corcoran pulled one back and the Galway side did have a late corner to tie things up but a switch move went awry and Alex won out 2-1.
Niamh O’Keeffe’s powerful double gave Crescent a 2-0 win over Loreto Kilkenny in their second game. The first was a rocket from the right edge of the circle and she added the second from the follow-up of a corner, one of six earned in the first half. The second period was much closer but the Limerick hosts held on comfortably.
Game of the day was certainly the fourth tie on pitch. Katie Larmour was the absolute star of the show, scoring a hat trick for Methody and setting up one more in a 5-3 success against Salerno.
Salerno had taken the lead when Maeve Hughes finished off the move of the match, a flowing team goal that ended with her guiding in Rebecca Gilligan’s pass. Madison Bowyer tied things up before Larmour’s drag flick made it 2-1.
A Larmour disguise-shot was turned in by Susie McCollum for the third. Larmour duly added two more in the second half – amid a flurry of star moments – to extend the advantage to 5-1.
Gilligan got one back and the MCB nerves jangled a little when Ellen Burke, the game’s other top performer, finished off a corner move for 5-3 with 11 minutes to go. But the Ulster side stood firm to take their win and end day one unbeaten.
Alex closed out the day with a 4-1 win over Loreto Kilkenny but they had it far from their own way, especially in the first half. Ciara Brennan’s early corner rebound gave the cats the lead and they held on to it for much of the half until Abi Acheson swooped to level from Sophie Roopnarinesingh’s initial shot.
But a pair of goals in the first few minutes of the second half saw Alex pull away. Roopnarinesingh made it 2-1 when she followed up Katherine Egan’s shot and McDermott slammed home from a corner. The midfielder then closed out the win with another piledriver into the backboard to complete the result.
It means Friday’s tie between Methody and Alex at 12.30pm and Alex against Crescent at 3.30pm will have a big bearing on the final outcome.
Subway Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships
Day one results: Crescent CC 2 (M O’Sullivan 2) Methodist College 2 (K Larmour, A Armstrong); Alexandra College 2 (I Delamar, A Acheson) Salerno 1 (M Corcoran); Crescent CC 2 (N O’Keeffe 2) Loreto Kilkenny 0; Methodist College 5 (K Larmour 3, M Bowyer, S McCollum) Salerno 3 (M Hughes, R Gilligan, E Burke); Alexandra College 4 (F McDermott 2, A Acheson, S Roopnarinesingh) Loreto Kilkenny 1 (C Brennan)
Friday schedule (all at Crescent CC): Loreto Kilkenny v Methodist College, 9.30am; Crescent College v Salerno, 11am; Methodist College v Alexandra College, 12.30pm; Salerno v Loreto Kilkenny, 2pm; Alexandra College v Crescent, 3.30pm