St Gerard’s head of girls sport Sarah Scott hailed an “exceptional year” as the school won their first ever Leinster schoolgirls Senior Cup title last Thursday in front of a mammoth crowd at Grange Road.
Lena Tice’s drag-flick three minutes from time proved decisive in a 1-0 win over an Alexandra College side bidding for their 13th title, one that would make them the most decorated in the competition’s 96-year history.But, while they looked to have the pick of the chances, it was the small Bray school who took down the title in front of a fervent crowd.
With just 50 girls in fourth, fifth and sixth year, this was a once in a lifetime generation of players formed from a combination of the 2011 first year league winning side and the 2012 Junior A finalists – the latter coached by Cathy McKean.
McKean, the school’s most famous alumni, was actually born in the school with both her parents teachers. Famously, she played in the senior team while still in first year.
She went on to play for the Irish women’s team over 100 times and is an example of the quality and knowledge that the school has been able to get on their books in recent times.
“Since we got our second Astroturf pitch, we have really put a lot of time into sport,” Scott explained. “It is compulsory for the kids to play sport and that has really helped. We have also built a really good coaching group.
“I just really wanted to make girls sport big and I had the backing of the school to hire who I needed to hire.”
The senior side is coached by former Irish Under-21 men’s coach Brendon Carolan while Irish Under-16 boys coach Niall Denham, national Under-21 manager Cathy Brock along with Irish representatives past and present Nicci Daly, Catherine Murray, Caitriona O’Kelly, Cliff Bailey and Hayley Mulcahy have all helped guide the current generation.
And their work has helped secure the most memorable moment in the Bray school’s hockey history.
“This year has been exceptional,” Scott said “The fact we played so well in the Premier League final in January but didn’t get anything out of it, along with a tough cup run, really stood to us.
“Alex played really well – the best I have seen them this year. The school are incredibly proud. I have letters from people in the school from 20 or 30 years ago who said they never dreamed of this day.”