Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Cup semi-final
Wesley College 2 (E Paul, L Gillespie) High School 0
Second half goals from Emma Paul and Lara Gillespie propelled Wesley to the Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Cup final as they proved too strong for High School at a bitterly cold Grange Road.
For long periods, they held the majority of the play but the Rathgar outfit hung tough, making things awkward with a gutsy display but once Wesley got in front, they did not look like being overhauled.
“It was a tough game. Inevitably a few nerves early on,” Wesley coach Colm Blennerhassett said afterwards.
“That meant it took us awhile to get going and High School made it difficult for us in the first half. We stepped it up in the second half once we had a chance to remind ourselves of a few basic principles.
“It was good to see us put them into practice and the score line reflected an improved second half performance.”
High School came into the tie having yet to win in the Premier League but had saved all their best form for the Senior Cup to reach this stage.
And despite being under pressure, they had the first major one-on-one but Holly Micklem was off her line quickly to smother the danger.
In the first half, though, they gave up precious few chances with Laura Motyer organising things superbly while goalkeeper Enya Mak not fully tested.
Wesley, though, turned the screw in the second half. A heavily deflected Paul penalty corner strike from the left side of the circle two minutes into the second half gave them the lead, sending Mak the wrong way.
The netminder was superb in the second half as Wesley shook off the shackles, keeping out Favour Onchonma, Paul and Charlotte Stapleton in quick succession.
But Gillespie – a European youth track cycling gold medallist last summer – made the game safe with sharp reactions to slash in Onchonma’s half-hit shot with eight minutes to go.
It was the killer moment but High School fought hard with Izzy Bowen offering their main outlet up front but they found little change from the likes of Sadhbh Breslin and Paul in the base of the Wesley defence.
Wesley now advance to meet St Andrew’s in next Thursday’s final, hoping they can end their long wait for glory at this level dating back to before the turn of the century.
High School: E Mak, K Moore, A Ryan, R McCullough, N Byrne, A Lyons, S O’Brien, S Power, R Pembroke, J Pillow, I Bowen, M McCullough, L Motyer, O Bagnall, B Dixon, E Pasley, E Price, E Ni Chonbhui
Wesley: H Micklem, E Taylor, I Marcoux, A Dunlop, E Paul, S Breslin, A O’Sullivan, M Reid, H McGrane, E McKay, A O’Connor, H Simmons, L Gillespie, C Stapleton, S Wall, R Patterson, F Onchonma, D McCabe
Umpires: S Canning, C Metchette