The Hook is delighted to host a live stream of the Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Cup final between Muckross Park and St Gerard’s at Grange Road from 2.30pm on Thursday, March 9.
A post with a Youtube video link will be posted on The Hook website on Thursday afternoon and shared on The Hook’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide live video.
The final represents the climax of a thrilling, well-matched campaign at senior level in the province, looking to earn a place in the Kate Russell All-Ireland Championships into the bargain.
There, they will join Ursuline Thurles, Banbridge Academy and Colaiste Iognaid – 2-0 winners in the Palmer Cup final against Salerno.
Kilkenny College also who qualified on Wednesday afternoon with a 5-0 South East final win over Loreto Kilkenny with two goals each from Elva Kerr and Yasmin Pratt along with one from Megan Telford Kelly.
For the Leinster final, it promises to be a fascinating affair. Both schools had middling results in the Premier League, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in Section B, but they came into their own in the cup.
For Sarah Scott, a member of Gerard’s coaching team, she says her side learned a lot from the league campaign that they could use in the cup competition which included narrow wins over Loreto Foxrock, Loreto Beaufort and Holy Child Killiney.
“Our captain Eleanor Dunne missed the league campaign due to injury and having her back as a leader is huge. We were disappointed with our league performance but learned a lot from video and worked really really hard on our fitness at Christmas.
“From then on we just took one match at a time. We prepared really well for each match and didn’t look beyond that.”
From the back, goalkeeper Niamh Longstaff has been superb while Robyn Murray was exceptional in the semi-final. Phoebe Norwood and Hilary Gallagher were instrumental in midfield with Lara Burke bossing the defence.
Scott, meanwhile, knows the opposition well from her other coaching roles with the Leinster Under-18s and the Muckross club where a number of the players also ply their trade on weekends.
As such, she is well placed to assess the challenge her side face: “Niamh Shaw is a great tackler of the ball and dominates at the back.
“Captain Rachel Cuddy has grown into her role in midfield and was a stand-out for them in the semi-final. Clodagh Ferry is an all round athlete and is also a powerhouse in defence for them.
“Muckross are a well coached organised side and the final will be a fantastic occasion for both teams. This will be St Gerard’s third year in a row in a Cup final and that is special in itself considering we have only 200 girls playing here.”
Muckross showed their determination to fight back to beat Wesley in a shoot-out following a dramatic late equaliser in normal time. Their marquee performance was a 2-1 quarter-final win over a fancied Mount Anville side.