Newpark Comprehensive and Muckross Park face off today (2pm, Three Rock Rovers) in the Leinster Junior Cup, the first major schoolgirls final of the 2018/19 season.
Muckross made it through to the final last Friday following a marathon shoot-out against Alexandra College in the semi-final.
Normal time had ended 1-1, leading to the one-on-one situation. Muckross had taken a 1-0 half-time lead before Ella Godsil equalised in the second half with a rocket of a reverse that left the goalie completely wrong-footed.
Once again, there was to be no easy winner as the first series of five shuttles saw the sides locked at 4-4. Indeed, it would go through nine rounds of sudden death before a winner was eventually found as Alex were twice penalised for infringements when the win was in sight.
In round 14, Georgie Fotterall finally found what proved to be the crucial goal as Alex were unable to convert yet again, sending the Donnybrook side through to the decider.
It added to a 1-0 win over Holy Child, Killiney in the last eight while they also beat St Gerard’s by a single goal and the High School in round one 2-0.
Indeed, they have conceded just once in four rounds of action, something that will be a crucial factor when they meet Newpark in the final.
The Blackrock side, meanwhile, will be featuring their first girls final of this magnitude. Their path has been slightly simpler, getting a bye in the first round before dismissing St Kilian’s in the second 5-0.
Against Wesley in the quarter-final, they were pushed all the way, drawing 1-1 in normal time before succeeding in a shoot-out with goalkeeper Erika Gallagher the hero with three saves.
St Andrew’s were next up with Zoe Watterson and Sophie McEvoy getting the goals in a 2-0 success.
Watterson and Gallagher are among a quarter of Newpark players currently training with the Irish Under-16 national selection with Lauren Moore and Milly Lynch also involved in Sarah Scott’s panel.
It is indicative of why this is a special side for Newpark. Lynch, indeed, gives the side – coached by Anna Richardson – real venom at penalty corner time with a ferocious drag-flick in her armoury.
For Muckross, they do not have the breadth of star names but Lucy Crowe is a major talent in their hard-working team. They have won three from three in the Premier League already to lead the way in Section B – again without conceding a single goal – to show they will be hard beaten.
Leinster Schoolgirls Junior A Cup final
Thursday, December 13: Muckross Park v Newpark, 2pm, Grange Road