Merciless Cripps holds nerve to slot winning penalty stroke

Munster Schoolgirls Senior Cup final replay
Mount Mercy 1 (E Cripps) Crescent Comprehensive 0
Emma Cripps’ penalty stroke 10 minutes into the second half saw Mount Mercy land the Munster Senior Cup as they saw off Crescent Comprehensive 1-0 in a final replay at Fermoy on Monday evening.

Mount Mercy celebrate their victory. Pic: Sharon Hutchinson

The Cork school produced a superbly controlled second half performance, dominating possession and taking the one big chance that came their way to deny the Limerick school that have been the prevailing force in the province in recent years.

In the early stages, Crescent held the aces with Eimear O’Keeffe forcing a brilliant diving stick save from Ciara Buckley before a lovely move between Maebh McNamara and Leah Clery was denied in similar fashion by the goalkeeper down low with her stick.

The Model Farm road school, though, soon took control and piled on the pressure toward the end of the first half and were unlucky not to take the lead amid a goalmouth scramble.

They did, however, carry the momentum into the second half and took the lead when their first penalty corner of the match hit a foot on the line, leading to the crucial stroke which Cripps converted.

From there, they looked the more likely side to push on and to score the second goal, penning the Comp in their own 23-metre zone for the most part with Saoirse Griffin influential in centre midfield.

Crescent removed their goalkeeper with three minutes remaining in favour of an extra outfielder but Mercy were able to hold firm.

It was a huge team effort all around with Mercy’s two second years Leah O’Shea and Lauren Cripps putting in strong stints for their age. The Cripps were one of two sets of sisters to line out with Sarah and Jane Murphy another family connection.

In Friday’s initial tie, Mount Mercy held the lead twice with Jane Murphy putting them in front only for O’Keeffe to level the game at half-time.

Enya O’Donoghue restored the Cork side’s lead before Sophie Clein netted a penalty corner to send the game to a replay, something of a novelty in hockey terms nowadays.

But Mercy made the lead stick at the second time of asking and can now look forward to trying to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships for a third time, the last of which came back in 2006.

That competition will take place on March 21st and 22nd with Kilkenny College playing hosts while Loreto Foxrock and Rainey Endowed are two newcomers to the competition.

Foxrock won the Leinster crown last Thursday for the first time since 1977 before the All-Ireland series was introduced in its current format. Rainey beat Banbridge Academy to land their first ever Ulster title.

Galway’s Salerno beat Colaiste Iognaid in the Connacht final to take up their place in the five-team competition.

Crescent Comprehensive: A Ahern, J Edwards, S Barry, G Keane, E Armstrong, E Sorensen, C Griffin, A Horan, A Hickey, R Leahy, E Lane, C O’Meara, S McDermott, K O’Farrelly, M MacNamara, E O’Keeffe, L Clery, S Clein

Mount Mercy: E Cripps, C Buckley, G French, K O’Halloran, A O’Farrell, S Daly, S Griffin, A O’Driscoll, S Murphy, J Murphy, E O’Donoghue, S Uniacke Lowe, L O’Shea, L Cripps, S Forde, A O’Shea

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