Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Junior Girls All Ireland Cup Semi Final (U17)
Kate Geary (25) Jennifer O’Keefe (28)
Jubilant celebrations erupted in Cahir Park this afternoon following Coláiste na Trócaire’s epic battle with Presentation College in a truly entertaining encounter reports Ross Leonard
There was nothing to separate the two sides who were only playing soccer in the school for the second season. This wasn’t at all evident as the girls put in a sterling performance which saw the lottery of penalties decide the faith of these talented teams
The match began with a very lively tempo as both sides shared the play and were very tough to break down
They shared some fantastic openings within the first quarter of proceedings. Colaiste na Trocaire came inches away on ten minutes when an effort from Katie Brennan was cleared off the line at the near post by Ciara Phelan following a well-placed set piece.
Just seconds later down the other end, Noirin Lenihan made a top class save from Lauren Valentine’s effort from the right wing to deny the Kilkenny outfit the lead.
It was a very tense game and either side could have grabbed the opener
With 26 minutes on the clock Kate Geary of Colaiste na Trocaire hit a free kick from 25 yards. The ball looked destined to go over the bar but at the last second it dipped beautifully into the top far right corner. There was nothing the goalkeeper could have done about it. A wonder goal from a gifted Geary
Credit to Presentation who didn’t let their heads drop and almost instantly pulled a goal back two minutes later. The ball fell to energetic Jennifer O’Keefe in the box whose first attempt was saved brilliantly. Luckily for her the rebound came back to her to tap in from close range.
All square at the interval, you couldn’t call it!
The second half got underway and Presentation were on the attack from the start. Again O’Keefe was on hand to hit a beautiful strike from distance but the Colaiste na Trocaire goalkeeper, Lenihan somehow managed to keep it out splendidly
As the end of the second half drew near, both teams pushed to find a winner.
With minutes left on the clock Clionadh Kenny pulled off a great save to deny Eadaoin Lyons from a powerful strike on the edge of the box to keep her side in the game.
Not too long later Kate Geary played Katie Brennan through on goal but her shot went just wide of the near post. This proved to be the last attack before the referee called for extra time.
Even after an extra twenty minutes of play neither side could find a match winner. Fatigue and cramp seemed to be a key factor for this period, surprisingly no substitutes were made throughout the match.
And so it was down to the dreaded penalty shootout to decide who would be joining Seán Boland’s Meánscoil Muire gan Smal, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon in the All Ireland Final on March 4. An eery silence grew over the Park as the girls lined up for the challenge.
With the score line at 3-2 and both teams having taken 4 penalties each, Tara Coleman stepped up to score the winning penalty for Colaiste na Trocaire. An incredible achievement for the Limerick School but that is not without giving credit to Presentation College for their achievement in reaching the semi-final and coming so close in a dogged campaign this season
Phair and his charges will relish the opportunity of an All Ireland Cup Final this season following some great performances on route to the finale. A big scalp for them was Cork stars Christ King Girls’ SS. Could they go one better now and capture the elusive title in 2015? The girls will definitely give a good account of themselves as preparations get underway for the Cup climax
Coláiste na Trócaire, Limerick: Noirin Lenihan, Sarah Fitzgerald, Rachael Anderson, Kate Geary (Joint Captain), Siobhan Tangney, Tara Coleman, Eadaoin Lyons (Joint Captain), Claire Gohery, Katie Brennan, Brenda O’Keeffe, Anna Shanagher
Subs: Maeve Power, Rachel Lynch, Ciara Hayes, Lucy Fitzgibbon, Emer Molyneaux, Chloe Mullins
Teacher: Killian Phair
Presentation College, Kilkenny: Cliodhna Kenny, Neasa Galway, Hannah Scott, Shauna Valentine, Allison O’Keefe, Aobha O’Gorman, Leanne Murray, Jennifer O’Keefe, Ciara Delaney, Lauren Valentine, Ciara Phelan
Subs: Elizabeth Buckley, Jean De Toulgoet, Rebecca Roche, Carrie Randle, Megan Randle, Shannon Holohan, Ellen O’Carroll
Teacher: Jennifer Reddy
Referee: John Lyons (Tipperary)