REIGNING CHAMPIONS LEINSTER maintained their phenomenal record in this competition with a stunning performance on Sunday in the AUL Complex, Clonshaugh.
Rob Ellison’s side only required a draw in the tie to see them victorious. A goal in each half was enough to see off title contenders Munster in a really entertaining contest.
The outing demonstrated the pedigree of the Leinster squad thus ensuring their seventh title in a decade.
The Champions continued their 100% record in the series and put in a flawless display to notch up five goals in three games and maintain an impressive clean sheet among some tough opponents.
They emulated the success of the Under 18 Boys’ Leinster side following their win last week in the same venue, cementing an impressive double in the Interprovincial series.
MATCH DAY THREE
Abbie Larkin was industrious in the opening period and dragged an effort short of the far post a few minutes in. However LARKIN hit the back of the net with 11 minutes played when Aoife Kelly (Presentation College, Carlow) played a lovely ball to the feet of the Ringsend grad, who latched onto it from outside the box.
Leinster could have went 2-0 up just before the break as Eve O’Brien’s strike hit the crossbar.
Ellison’s side extended their lead nine minutes into the restart with O’Brien (Woodbrook College, Bray) showing some fancy footwork with both feet to slot past the diving Munster shot-stopper from distance.
Munster were plagued with injuries but kept looking for an elusive goal to bring them back into contention. However, Leinster’s defence were alert to the challenge and smartly saw the game out to ensure a worthy victory in the end.
In the other outing of the morning, it was Rola Olusola that netted a brace to see off Ulster in their final appearance in the contest.
The Merlin College scholar hit two second half goals, the first coming four minutes in while Ulster equalised through an OG on 44 minutes with a delightful corner kick.
Connacht went ahead two minutes later with a brilliant finish from Olusola.
MATCH DAY TWO
The Saturday afternoon fixtures saw Leinster claim the two points over Ulster. Larkin CC student Leah Tighe had her initial strike hit off the crossbar but Abbie Larkin (Ringsend College) was on hand to tap in at the far post on 17 minutes.
Their lead was doubled ten minutes from time when an audaciously high ball in the box was deemed to have crossed the line from an Eve O’Brien (Woodbrook College, Bray) attack.
While Munster and Connacht played out a five goal thriller in the later fixture.
Munster were two up inside thirteen minutes through Captain Heidi O’Sullivan. The Regina Mundi College scholar had some lovely passages of play with Shauna Pearson (St. Mary’s SS, Newport) to bag her brace.
However Connacht got a foothold in proceedings to bring the game level with two screamers from Isabella Fitzpatrick (Dominican College, Taylor’s Hill) ten minutes from time.
There was a serious injury to Meabh Russell (Loreto SS, Clonmel) which saw a lengthy delay and four minutes of injury time played.
Again it was a match winning performance from Captain O’Sullivan who popped up with a 35 yard free kick to win the game for Munster, thus securing her hat-trick with seconds left in the bruising encounter. A wonderful showcase from both teams.
MATCH DAY ONE
A Leah TIGHE (Larkin CC) rocket nine minutes from time set up the defending Champions nicely against Connacht in the opening match, winning out 1-0 to Dom Coll’s crew. A really enjoyable test for both teams which may have merited a draw over the sixty minutes.
It was honours even in the second game of the evening with Munster and Ulster finishing one apiece.
Coláiste Ailigh star Erin Doherty hit the woodwork six minutes from the interval while Ellie LONG (Carndonagh CS) broke the deadlock five minutes into the restart.
Munster responded ten minutes later with Niamh COTTER (Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon) equalising.
As well as provincial honours this weekend, our International management staff use this tournament as the key recruiting tool for their Republic of Ireland Schools select.
Following the tournament this afternoon, an extended panel will be invited back for trial on Saturday, November 30 in FAI HQ, Abbotstown.
Richard Berkeley, teacher in Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh had a fabulous management debut in 2018 and this was followed up with another remarkable record last year retaining the Bob Docherty Cup and John Read Trophy in sunny Salou.
The standard of football has been immense this year and Berkeley and his management team will be looking to capture an elusive three in-a-row when the squad travel to Manchester at Easter to compete in the Home Nations tournament.
The 68 players lined out this weekend will be hoping for a call-up in a fortnight’s time as Berkeley’s title defence will be on the line.
ULSTER: Leah McLoughlin, Rachael Friel (Mulroy College, Milford), Ella McHugh, Shania McMonagle (Deele College, Raphoe), Niamh Harkin, Jodie Loughrey (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana) Ellie Long (Carndonagh Community School) Erin Doherty (Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny) Stranorlar) Erika Gallagher, Nicole McDaid, Hannah Hopkins, Darcey Kelly (Loreto Convent, Letterkenny), Ciara Molly (Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Ballinamore), Sarah McGinley, Emily Irwin, Siobhán Cameron (Loreto Community School, Milford), Claire Diver (Rosses Community School, Dungloe)
Management: Bridgeen Harley (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Emma Duffy (Loreto Convent, Letterkenny), Karen Henry (Mulroy College, Milford), Paddy McDaid (Finn Valley College, Stranorlar)