Mayo School win FAI Schools Junior ‘B’ National Cup
The Killala outfit managed by teacher Stephen Lacken made an apprehensive return to the Clonshaugh venue where they were beaten finalists in the Minor ‘B’ Cup Final twelve months previous as they fell foul to St. Mary’s Secondary School, Newport that day.
However it was scenes of jubilation for the Connacht and now National Cup Champions when the final whistle went following 70 minutes of action packed football.
The teams tested each other from the outset with Lacken Cross hitting the woodwork twice in each half as well as scorned opportunities from both sides.
Captain Ellie Fitzpatrick, Ciara Guilfoyle and Robyn Bracken were impressive for the Offaly school who came agonisingly close to Ciara Murphy’s goalmouth on several occasions.
Ailbhe McHale finally broke the deadlock six minutes from the interval with a superb effort to deceive netminder Hannah Cronin.
This was cancelled out three minutes into the second period as Ciara Guilfoyle outsmarted the Saints defence to slot home the equaliser.
A tense encounter by two equally matched teams ensured a nail-biting conclusion to events. A light reprieve for Lacken Cross as the inform Alva Munnelly connected well to an Aoife Kearney free-kick which found its way to the back of the net.
An injury to Captain Fitzpatrick saw her withdraw from proceedings with a quarter of an hour still to play, a massive blow for the Leinster stars. This coincided with St. Patrick’s College third goal as substitute Deirbhle McHale nicked in to ensure the silverware for the Mayo side, 3-1.
The Clara girls can take huge credit for their Cup campaign endeavours this season with James Duffin at the helm but it was the experienced Lacken Cross that won out in the end.
St. Patrick’s College will enjoy the celebrations this evening but their focus will shift to the Minor ‘B’ Cup run as they attempt to defend their Bank of Ireland title. The 2017 Champions will face Manorhamilton’s St. Clare’s Comprehensive School next week.
Bank of Ireland Player of the Match: Alva Munnelly (St. Patrick’s College) was awarded the accolade following a memorable performance for the Lacken Cross crew.
Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa, Clara: Hannah Cronin, Áine Bracken, Rebecca Larkin, Shannon Wynne, Rachel Bracken, Ciara Monaghan, Kate Fitzpatrick, Robyn Bracken, Ciara Guilfoyle, Ellie Fitzpatrick (Captain) (Niamh Rooney, 54) Eve Kelly
St. Patrick's College, Lacken Cross: Ciara Louise Murphy (Captain), Rachel Brudenall, Ciara McHale, Sarah Costello, Aoife Kearney, Anna Heffernan (Deirbhle McHale, 26), Laura Bilbow, Ailbhe McHale, Majella O’Boyle, Alison Langdon Long, Alva Munnelly