A Yasmin Pratt-inspired Kilkenny College won the school and the South East region’s first Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championship since 1994.
The speedy striker, named player of the tournament, struck six times across their four games to lead them to glory, edging out Loreto Foxrock by points with Ulster side Rainey Endowed third overall.
For coach Richard Willis – a former international – it was a second All-Ireland success having previously led the Kilkenny boys team to All-Ireland success in 1999, marking him out for a unique piece of Irish hockey history.
The crucial win came on Thursday when Pratt opened the tournament with a dipping shot, added to by Jessica Wagenaar en route to a 2-1 win over Foxrock.
A 0-0 draw with Rainey followed before they cut loose on day two of the campaign. Pratt’s hat-trick saw Kilkenny come from behind to beat Cork’s Mount Mercy 5-2, scoring the first two with superb solo runs before Megan Telford-Kelly and and Wagenaar built a 4-2 half-time lead.
Needing a win in their final tie against Galway’s Salerno, Pratt – an Irish Under-18 international who is also the top scorer in the Leinster women’s Division One – was also on the mark first before Sophie Thomas made the game and the title safe.
Foxrock beat both Rainey and Salerno on day two to secure silver in their first-ever appearance in the competition while Rainey could not add to their day one points total but still hung for third on goal difference ahead of Cork’s Mount Mercy.
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)