Barton’s silver salvo earns Premier League gold

Senior Premier League final
Alexandra College 1 (A Barton) Loreto Foxrock 0

Aleisha Barton’s extra time goal saw Alexandra College win back the Leinster schoolgirls Senior Premier League title on Tuesday afternoon at Grange Road, edging out Loreto Foxrock 1-0 in a tense final.

She swept home following a superb attack via Katherine Egan and Jan Cleary on the baseline. Cleary waited superbly before picking out Barton arriving late to finish off the move with four minutes to go in silver goal extra time.

It was the only breakthrough as both goalkeepers, Caroline Nugent for Alex, Jane Conway-Kenny for Foxrock, produced fine performances between the posts.

Earlier on, Foxrock had slightly the better of the first half exchanges with Christina Hamill – the Leinster Under-16 captain – forging the clearest of chances when she cut through one-on-one.

Nugent, though, did superbly to spot the danger and slide out and make the save low down. She subsequently was lobbed by another effort but somehow got her glove up high enough to clear the danger over the endline.

Alexandra celebrate their cup win. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alexandra celebrate their cup win. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alex were somewhat subdued in the opening period, a far cry from their semi-final when their business was all but done and dusted in a 7-0 win over Loreto Beaufort.

Foxrock had gritted their way through a 2-1 battle with Mount Anville and relished the contest with Ellen Curran in midfield and Hannah McLoughlin at the back digging in.

Alex, though, came out strong in the second half and dominated the play, pinning Foxrock in the 23m area for long periods.

McLoughlin managed to block a number of attacks down the middle before the Milltown school started moving the ball more dramatically to the left to Ava Beatty and Sophie Roopnarinesingh.

Foxrock's Ellen Curran clears under pressure. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Foxrock’s Ellen Curran clears under pressure. Pic: Adrian Boehm

They began to win penalty corners, two of which Freya McDermott saw well saved while her third effort was charged down by the number one runner’s body.

It led to a fourth set piece in quick succession but it also went awry as Foxrock took the game into extra time.

After an hour of scoreless play, though, the critical strike came within a minute of the start of extra time. It came from Alex’s first attack of time added on with Egan, Cleary and Barton’s combination providing the indelible memory.
Foxrock pushed for a leveller but created no clear-cut chance in the short time available to them, sparking wild Alex celebrations from the capacity crowd.

The win capped a stellar campaign, conceding just two goals in seven games with only Mount Anville denying them victory in a draw during the group stage.

Alex celebrate Aleisha Barton's winning goal. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Alex celebrate Aleisha Barton’s winning goal. Pic: Adrian Boehm

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