Connacht capture elusive Interprovincial title
This season, Leinster were going for an extraordinary sixth consecutive title but it wasn’t to be for Rob Ellison and his crew.
Two first half goals courtesy of Schools’ International Kate O’Dowd of St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen and Gort Community School pupil Abbie Callanan were enough to seal the deal for Dom Coll’s charges.
The curtain raiser on Sunday morning saw Munster against Ulster in a most win game for either side. Both teams were looking to finish with a flourish following earlier set-backs.
They were both stinging from their respective matches against Leinster which they lost narrowly and probably deserved more from.
Munster were undone on Friday evening by a solidarity goal from Rathcoole scholar Rachel McGrath early in the second half. While Ulster went down 2-0 on Saturday afternoon in the last few minutes of play. Loreto Abbey youngster Maria Reynolds capitalised on a half cleared corner to give the Leinster side the lead on 51 minutes while the double was complete six minutes later when Captain Della Doherty (Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington) lashed a screamer from 30 yards out to net the crucial winner.
The Ulster select started the game in a positive fashion when Cavan native Lucy Jane Grant slotted past Leah Hayes Coen for the opener with only four minutes registered.
Two minutes later, Schools’ International star Aoibheann Clancy of Presentation SS, Thurles forced Orla Corry (Loreto SS, Milford) into a fabulous save.
With a quarter of the game played, Emma Doherty (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana) doubled their lead with a well-executed shot on target.
Coláiste na Trócaire pupil Nicola McNamara was unlucky not to pull one back for Munster just before the break as her rocket was perfectly averted by the inform Corry between the posts.
Munster’s revival came mid-way through the second half was Aoife Horgan combined beautifully with Ennis youngster Ellen Casey for the Ballybunion grad to slot home a vital goal for Richard Grimes’ side.
It was all square two minutes later as again Horgan netted for her brace.
Cahir’s Robin Carey was having a brilliant second half as she exploited the left wing brilliantly with some darting runs on goal. St. Columba’s College netminder Caoimhe Brennan who was introduced at the break for Corry, was equal to the challenge and denied Carey on more than one occasion.
It was Ulster’s Aoife Gallinagh that had the match winning potential but unfortunately the Buncrana player dragged her shot from distance just short of the right post.
A fair end to proceedings as it finished 2-2 with both managers happy with the outcome.
It was no surprise that the FAI Schools Ambassador Tyler Toland (Deele College, Raphoe) selected Aoife Horgan as Player of the Match following her exceptional goal tally which saw her side come from two nil down to share the spoils on the final day.
The ultimate decider was sure to entertain as a draw would be enough to see Connacht win gold on superior goal difference but Leinster needed a win to cement their sixth title in a row.
Connacht didn’t mess around are were one up inside the first seven minutes. Schools’ International Anna Fahey, who is a niece of Niamh’s had a wonderful shot on goal saved bravely by Glasnevin’s Rugile AskaIntye but the rebound fell nicely to Kate O’Dowd who was on hand to slot home at the far post.
O’Dowd again came close for her second of the game on 22 minutes but the strike went wayward
Connacht netted again six minutes before the interval as Gort Community School student Abbie Callanan converted a remarkable cannon that left AskaInyte with no chance.
AskaInyte was called into action shortly after the restart to foil Anna Fahey’s delivery on goal. The Oughterard player was one on one with the goalkeeper only for the Glasnevin shot-stopper to stand tall and magically divert the danger.
Leinster were commanding much of the possession deep into the second period but couldn’t convert this into any real form of attack as the Connacht defense held strong.
The Connacht crew held out for an historic victory which was sure to delight the large traveling supporters.
There was double celebrations for the winning side as Kate Slevin (Claregalway College) was announced as the Player of the Match following a sterling performance for her Province.
Connacht Manager Dom Coll who teaches in Presentation College, Athenry has been involved in the Connacht Schools set up from 1993 and he recalls last winning the Girls U18s title back then in the late 90s. This will be the first win for him in the U15s age group following nearly a twenty year absence. It was bitter sweet that it was Leinster they overcame in the final series of matches because Coll recalls the hosts winning the title both in 2012 and 2015 on dubious penalty calls which snatched the title from his grasp. No doubt an historic day for the Westerners who will celebrate in style following a wonderful weekend of creative football.
International Manager, Richard Berkeley (Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh) will be joined by a new look management staff this season. He will be assisted by Karen Byrne (St. Ultan’s School, Navan), Lisa McMenamin (Davitt College, Castlebar) and Karen Henry (Mulroy College, Milford) as well as Goalkeeping Coach Dave Rooney who has been involved in the set up for three seasons now.
The management staff have a tough task on their hands to select a group for trial as the standard of play was so exceptional from all four provinces.
There will be four former Internationals in the mix as Champions, Connacht had 3 starlets feature at the weekend including Kate O’Dowd (St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen), Muireann Devaney (St. Clare’s Comprehensive School) and Anna Fahey (St. Paul’s Secondary School, Ougherard), as well as Munster’s Aoibheann Clancy (Presentation Secondary School, Thurles)
Berkeley and his management staff will select a panel of 30 players for the first phase of trials this Saturday, November 25 in Abbotstown.
The Republic of Ireland U15 Girls Schools final select will be confirmed ahead of their annual John Read Cup which will see them travel to Stafford Town FC to take on the Lioness on March 10.
The squad will then prepare themselves for the Bob Docherty Cup which is due to take place on March 24 to 26 in Northern Ireland.
LEINSTER:Emma Ring (Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan), Shannon Guildea (Drogheda Grammar School), Jodie McQuillan (Beaufort College, Navan), Abby McHugh (Dunshaughlin Community School), Abby Clarke (Muckross Park College, Donnybrook), Jessie Stapleton (Palmerstown Community School), Ellen Molloy (Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny), Della Doherty (Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington), Ella Maree (St. Brendan’s Community School, Bray), Zoe Leonard (Hartstown Community School), Rachel McGrath (Holy Family Community School, Rathcoole), Lucy Edwards (Maryfield College, Drumcondra), Maria Reynolds (Loreto Abbey, Dalkey), Sophie Murray(Loreto College, St. Stephen’s Green), Jess Lawlor (Coláiste Lorcain, Castledermot), Rugile Askainyte (St. Mary’s Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin), Aoife O’Leary (St. Mark’s Community School, Tallaght)
MANAGEMENT: Rob Ellison (St. Raphaela’s SS, Stillorgan), Clare Kinsella & Mags Doyle (Coaches), Scott Gaynor (Presentation College, Wexford)
MUNSTER: Leah Hayes Coen (Scoil Mhuire agus Ide, Newcastle West), Emma Barrett (Scoil Pól, Kilfinane), Robin Carey (Coláiste Dán Iascaigh, Cahir), Ellen Casey & Emma O’Donohue (Coláiste Muire, Ennis), Aoibheann Clancy (Presentation Secondary School Thurles), Aoife Horgan (St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Ballybunion), Aisling Kelly (Presentation Secondary School, Listowel), Kelly Leahy (Coláiste an Chroi Naofa, Cork), Emer McCarthy (Cashel Community School), Nicole McNamara, Ciara Houlihan & Anna Mullane (Coláiste na Trócaire, Rathkeale), Mia O’Connell (Coláiste Muire, Cobh) Naomi O’Shaughnessy (Ennis Community College), Eve O’Sullivan (Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry), Caoimhe Riordan (Coláiste Íde agus Iosef, Abbeyfeale)
MANAGEMENT: Richard Grimes & Andrew Russell (St. Caimin’s Community School, Shannon), Barry Ryan (Presentation Secondary School, Thurles) Carys Johnson (Glanmire Community College), Stephen Quinn (Coach)
CONNACHT: Chellene Trill, Shauna Brennan, Hannah Walsh & Kate Slevin (Claregalway College), Theresa Kinnevey & Anna Fahey (St. Paul’s Secondary School, Oughterard), Sarah Kiernan & Helen Monaghan (Ursuline College, Sligo), Annie Gough (Jesus & Mary SS, Gortnor Abbey), Muireann Devaney (St. Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton), Kate O’Dowd (St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen), Saoirse Healey (Presentation College, Athenry), Erin Taheny (St. Mary’s College, Ballysadare), Abbie Callanan (Gort Community School), Emer O’Neill (St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh), Aoibheann Costello (Scoil Bhríde, Mercy SS, Tuam), Amy Mahon (St. Joseph’s Community College, Charlestown)
MANAGEMENT: Dom Coll (Presentation College, Athenry), Seamas MacEachmharcaigh, Sarah Farragher (both Sacred Heart School, Westport), Seán Boland (Meánscoil Muire gan Smál, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon), Fabienne Cooney (Claregalway College)
ULSTER: Orla Corry & Kelsey McAteer (Loreto Community School, Milford), Katelyn Doherty, Aoife Gallinagh, Louise Gallinagh & Emma Doherty (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Rachel Lawne & Caoimhe Brennan (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Cate Toland (Deele College, Raphoe), Shannon Cunningham & Erin Doherty (Coláiste Ailigh, Leitir Ceanainn) Lucy Jane Grant (Loreto College, Cavan), Ciara McGarvey (Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola, Falcarragh), Kerry Brown (Moville Community College), Erin McLaughlin (Carndonagh Community School), Jessica Lesse (St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs), Maria Bonner (St. Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties)
MANAGEMENT: Bridgeen Harley (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Emma Duffy (Loreto Convent, Letterkenny), Karen Henry (Mulroy College, Milford)
RESULTS & FIXTURES
Friday, November 17
Ulster 2-7 Connacht | POTM Anna Fahey (St. Paul’s SS, Oughterard)
Leinster 1-0 Munster | POTM Jessie Stapleton (Palmerstown CS)
Saturday, November 18
Ulster 0-2 Leinster | POTM Della Doherty (Coláiste Iosagain, Portarlington)
Connacht 3-0 Munster | POTM Muireann Devaney (St. Clare’s CS, Manorhamilton)
Sunday, November 19
10.00am Munster 2-2 Ulster | POTM Aoife Horgan (St. Joseph’s SS, Ballybunion)
11.30am Connacht 2-0 Leinster | POTM Kate Slevin (Claregalway College)