Crescent College Comprehensive became the first Munster side to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships since 2006 when they beat Salerno 4-0 on Friday afternoon in Galway on goal difference.
The Limerick school went into the final match of the two-day competition needing to win by three goals to get the better of Bray’s St Gerard’s on goal difference.
Aebfhinn Burke was the heroine, netting the opening goal early on before Nicole Power’s penalty corner looped in via a deflection for 2-0 at the break.
Burke then capped the win with her second goal midway through the second half to get Crescent over the line while Ciara Leahy got an insurance goal down the closing stretch. As such, they became the first Munster team to win the competition since Cork’s Mount Mercy and the first from Limerick in the 35 year history of the championship.
It added to wins over Ulster champions Sullivan Upper and the South East’s Kilkenny College while a 2-2 draw with Leinster’s St Gerard’s on Thursday evening proved key.
Gerard’s had set the target for Crescent when they produced an immense second half fightback from 2-0 down against Sullivan Upper in the penultimate game of the competition.
They scored five times in that second half, Ella Collins on the mark twice along with Sarah O’Loughlin and Sadhbh McCarthy to keep alive their tournament hopes.
Earlier, they had beaten Salerno 5-2 and shaded a 2-1 battle with Kilkenny College. The Cats were overnight leaders, ending the first day with two wins from two but could not maintain the pace against the two side who would eventually take first and second on day two.
Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships, day one: Crescent 6 (A Burke 4, N O’Keefe, C Leahy) Sullivan Upper 2 (E Hill, Z Malseed); Kilkenny 3 (L Thomas 2, L Cope) Salerno 2 (K Dunleavy, M Hughes); St Gerard’s 5 (M Cullen, L Tice, E Collins, R Neville, R Murray) Salerno 2 (M Corcoran, S-A O’Malley); Kilkenny 4 (L Thomas, K Thomson, R Mahon, E Atkinson) Sullivan Upper 2 (A Rothwell, K Young); St Gerard’s 2 (L Tice, M Cullen) Crescent 2 (N O’Keefe, M Mawhinney)
Day Two: St Gerard’s 2 (L Tice, S McCarthy) Kilkenny 1 (K Raeburn); Sullivan Upper 4 (Z Malseed, R Barton, E Hill) Salerno 2 (K Dunleavy, E Noone); Crescent 2 (B Murphy, J Clein) Kilkenny 1 (L Thomas); St Gerard’s 5 (E Collins 2, S O’Loughlin 2, S McCarthy) Sullivan Upper 2 (Z Malseed 2); Crescent 4 (A Burke 2, N Power, C Leahy) Salerno 0
Standings: 1. Crescent Comp 10pts (+9) 2. St Gerard’s 10pts (+7) 3. Kilkenny College 6pts (+1) 4. Sullivan Upper 3pts (-7) 5. Salerno 0pts (-6)