ST. PATRICK’S COLLEGE, LACKEN CROSS overcame a spirited Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton in Athlone IT yesterday afternoon (February 22) to book their place in this year’s Cup Final.
Munster Champions Coláiste Mhuire were the surprise package this season and the afternoon’s score line didn’t reflect a wholly entertaining game in the Midlands venue.
Superstar Alva Munnelly stole the show with a prolific performance for the Killala crew as she bagged a hat-trick just after half time and netted from the penalty spot in the dying stages to ensure a smooth sailing into this season’s showcase which will see them up against newcomers Ard Scoil Chiaráin Naofa of Clara.
Lacken Cross are no strangers to this level of competition. Twelve months previous, they were beaten finalists in the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Minor ‘B’ Girls National Cup campaign. The same crop of players lost out to newbies St. Mary’s of Newport that afternoon so they won’t take anything for granted on Wednesday, March 7 when they line out in Home Farm FC for the finale.
2017 Minor ‘B’ Captain Munnelly will be looking to avenge the bitter disappointment which they felt after the Newport defeat. The Mayo crew certainly left a marked in Athlone of their intention to go all the way with a sterling performance in all areas of the park.
Alison Long opened their account with just eight minutes on the clock as she slotted past the impressive Taylor Madigan following some good link up play with Alva Munnelly.
Four minutes later, Íde Trant’s side had a wonderful chance to capitalise on a defensive error when Kate Neville found herself one on one with goalkeeper and Captain Ciara Murphy but the Askeaton striker dragged her shot agonisingly wide of the mark
Taylor Madigan was called into action again on 24 minutes as she pulled off a magnificent save to deny the lively Munnelly.
However, Munnelly got the better of Madigan five minutes later with a wonderful solo effort which saw her dispossess the Askeaton defender to round the diving netminder to double Killala’s advantage in this tie.
Munnelly nabbed her second and the Saints third of the day just before the interval when her corner kick deceived all to cross the line in surprise fashion! A huge turning point in the game as Askeaton faced an uphill battle in the second period with a three goal deficit to negotiate.
Things went from bad to worse for Coláiste Mhuire as Alva Munnelly’s hat-trick was complete six minutes into the restart when she netted from the edge of the box.
First half substitute Deirbhla McHale got herself on the score-sheet after the hour mark to make it five.
An Askeaton hand ball in the box, saw match official Brian James with no option but to award a spot kick which Munnelly duly converted two minutes from time.
The polish came for McHale as she netted her brace in injury time for a solid performance from the St. Patrick’s College outfit as they found themselves seven to the good.
A disappointing way to exit the campaign for Askeaton but no doubt Trant’s side will be back in contention for more honours next season which is definitely merited given their performances over the last few months.
Stephen Lacken will now turn his attention to the big showcase in a fortnight’s time in the Dublin venue.
Whatever the outcome, we will hear plenty more from Lacken Cross as this youthful squad are still underage at this level next year so the future is bright for the Killala scholars.
ST. PATRICK’S COLLEGE, LACKEN CROSS | Ciara Murphy (Captain), Aoife Kearney, Ciara McHale, Sarah Costello, Rachel Brudenall (Karen Higgins 67), Anna Heffernan (Deirbhla McHale 19), Laura Bilbow (ciara Adams 60), Ailbhe McHale (Keeva McDonnell 65), Majella O’Boyle (Caoimhe Grier 58), Alison Long, Alva Munnelly
TEACHER | Stephen Lacken COACHES | David Munnelly, Emma Munnelly, Cliodhna Fitzmaurice
COLÁISTE MHUIRE, ASKEATON | Taylor Madigan, Muireann Donovan (Lauren O’Sullivan 45), Lauren Ranahan, Danielle Donovan, Aoife Neville (Ella O’Connor 35), Aishling O’Carroll (Áine Keavney 65), Caoimhe O’Connell, Abbie Murphy, Casie Fitzgerald (Captain), Roisin O’Shaughnessy, Kate Neville (Jessica Niwosu 50)
SUBS NOT USED | Ciara O’Connell
TEACHERS | Íde Trant, Dayle Danagher COACHES | Caitlin O’Shaughnessy, Alex Ryan, Alan McGrath