South East Schoolgirls Cup final
Loreto Kilkenny 4 (H Kelly 3, R Kelly) Kilkenny College o
Loreto Kilkenny ended city rivals Kilkenny College’s reign as South East champions with a super win, earning them a place in the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schools championships.
In perfect playing conditions, Loreto took an early advantage when smart play by Eva Duggan resulted in the first short corner of the game. This was struck sweetly into the goal by Rachel Kelly following a clever routine.
Three minutes later, her twin sister Hannah scored the second goal from an acute angle on the reverse to give the Loreto girls a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a very evenly matched affair with no goals forthcoming despite both sides’ probing attacks. Dara Scobie and Rachel Lacey were at the forefront of the College’s resistance but Loreto were relentless in their efforts.
Restarting with renewed intensity after the break, Loreto gained momentum early on in the third quarter with a series of corners providing good chances.
These were as a result of skilled play by Aisling McGrath and Ava Murphy, but all efforts were kept out by diligent defending on behalf of the Kilkenny College team.
Soon after, Hannah Kelly broke the stalemate when a long ball cut through the opposition’s defence. A reverse strike secured Loreto Kilkenny’s third goal of the day despite the best efforts of the College’s ‘keeper.
In the final quarter, the Loreto outfit hit their stride. Rachel Kelly was superb at the back, marshalling the Loreto counter-attack, while Sophia O’Shea tormented the Kilkenny College defence.
A late storming run by Abby Gilsenan from midfield gained another circle entry and a clever pass was laid off to Hannah Kelly. Kelly completed her hat-trick of the day with a reverse strike over the keeper to finish the game.