The end of term is always a happy occasion in any school, but last Friday the students and staff of Kilkenny College set off for the Easter break with a spring in their step, their senior girls’ squad having been crowned All Ireland Champions.
Of Irish Hockey’s five provinces, it was the turn of The South East to host the event which, as a result of being South East winners, Kilkenny College sprang into action to host the event over last Thursday and Friday for the annual round-robin event featuring the five regional champions.
Kilkenny got off to a solid start by beating Loreto Foxrock in the opening game of the tournament.The Castlecomer Road girls followed this up with a close match against Rainey Endowed by which at the end of the game the teams could not be separated.
A hat trick from Yasmin Pratt helped Kilkenny College to their 5-2 win over Mount Mercy.With other results playing out the way they did, a Kilkenny College win against Salerno of Galway, in the final game of the tournament would ensure the title coming to Kilkenny for the first time since 1994.
In a game that started apprehensively for both sides, nerves were soon settled as Pratt found the back of the net. A second half goal by Kilkenny’s Sophie Thomas saw the Kilkenny girls win the title, as the game finished 2-0.
Speaking after the event, team manager Lesley Threlfall said: “I’m delighted for the girls, given the amount of hard work they have put in over the last few years.
“We’ve come close in recent times but needless to say we are thrilled to win this tournament, especially in front of our school community. The girls always gave of their best and their coaches Richard Willis and assistant coach Ross Harding could not have asked for more from them.
“While the spine of the team have all been capped at underage level [Ellie Mcloughlin in goal, Charlotte Cope at centre back, Sophie Thomas at centre midfield, and Yasmin Pratt at centre forward] all of the squad made a huge contribution on the pitch.”
Logistically, the event was a success off the pitch too. Headmaster Simon Thompson was full of praise for the squad and their management.
“Head Coach Richard Willis and Ross Harding had previously coached the boys to the equivalent win in ’99 so today is a great day for Kilkenny College girls.
“Equally I must compliment the entire school community in getting behind the logistical operation that an event like this requires. The Transition Year students were at the centre of the event as well as numerous teachers support staff and parents.
“I’d like to thank our sponsors Kukri, Brook Food Services, So Hockey and Volac for their support which made the event such a success.”
Kilkenny squad: Ellie McLoughlin, Sophie Thomas, Hilary Balding, Isabel Bourke, Yasmin Pratt, ,sabel Carr, Iseult Cahill, Grace Donald, Charlotte Cope, Jessica Wagenaar, Elva Kerr, Emily Dundon, Ruth MacDonald, Megan Telford Kelly, Ciara Orr, Alannah Clarke, Rachel Lacey, Dara Scobie
Coach: Richard Willis Manager: Lesley Threlfall Assistant Coach: Ross Harding
Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirl Championships
Thursday: Kilkenny College 2 (Y Pratt, J Wagenaar) Loreto Foxrock 1 (E Reidy); Salerno 0 Mount Mercy 0; Rainey Endowed 0 Kilkenny College 0; Mount Mercy 1 (K O’Halloran) Loreto Foxrock 3 (C Hamill, S McCooey, S O’Brien); Rainey Endowed 3 (B Scott 2, G Scott) Salerno 1
Friday: Rainey Endowed 0 Loreto Foxrock 2 (C Hamill, S O’Brien); Mount Mercy 2 (A O’Farrell 2) Kilkenny College 5 (Y Pratt 3, M Telford-Kelly, J Wagenaar); Loreto Foxrock 1 (S O’Brien) Salerno 0; Mount Mercy 3 (K O’Halloran, L O’Shea, S Murphy) Rainey Endowed 1; Salerno 0 Kilkenny College 2 (Y Pratt, S Thomas)
Standings: 1. Kilkenny College 10pts (+6) 2. Loreto Foxrock 9pts (+4) 3. Rainey Endowed 4pts (-2) 4. Mount Mercy 4pts (-3) 5. Salerno 1pt (-5)