Scoil Chríost Rí (Laois) 3-10
Loreto Clonmel (Tipperary) 2-10
By Daragh Small
Goalkeeper Aoife Hyland was in outstanding form as Scoil Chríost Rí claimed their first ever Lidl All-Ireland PPS Senior A title with victory over Loreto Clonmel at John Locke Park in Callan.
In the repeat of the 2018 semi-final the Portlaoise outfit turned the tables on their rivals, with Laois inter-county star Erone Fitzpatrick and Emma Lawlor providing the cutting edge up front.
Loreto lost last year’s final, but goals from Fitzpatrick and Orla Hennessy ensured they only trailed by 2-3 to 0-6 at the interval here.
It was perfect conditions for football and it led to another brilliant half where Sarah Larkin’s third Scoil Chríost Rí goal was vital because Caoimhe Mulcahy and Ailis O’Meara hit back.
The Clonmel outfit were already 0-3 to 0-0 in front after eight minutes with points from Kellyann Hogan, Caoimhe Mulcahy and Ava Fennessy.
But when Eimear Quirke drove her shot off the post it was the first of many missed chances that allowed Scoil Chríost Rí establish a foothold in the game.
They didn’t score until the 13th minute when Hennessy tapped over but then four minutes later they had their first goal. Fitzpatrick blasted her shot into the roof of Eimear McKeown’s goal and all of a sudden Scoil Chríost Rí were in front.
Anna Carey quickly tied things up and Hogan pushed Loreto back into a narrow lead. But Hyland did well to deny Loreto a certain goal in the 21st minute when she saved Hogan’s low drive, while points from Lawlor and Isabella O’Toole brought Scoil Chríost Rí back in front.
Ava Fennessy drew the sides level again but after an exquisite pass from Fitzpatrick, Hennessy finished off a second goal for a 2-3 to 0-6 half-time lead for Scoil Chríost Rí.
Hennessy and Fennessy traded scores on the resumption before Carey punched a point after Hyland had continued her heroics with a great save to deny Niamh Martin.
Scoil Chríost Rí were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute when Gretta Nugent was penalised for a foot-block on Shauna Dooley. Nugent was shown a yellow card and headed for the sin-bin but Lawlor’s kick hit the post.
Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick scored a free to extend the lead before Áine Fitzgerald replied and then Larkin drove a low shot past McKeown and into the Loreto net in the 45th minute.
The game looked over, only for Mulcahy to fire past Hyland up the other end moments later. Then Scoil Chríost Rí substitute Julia Cahill began a four-point onslaught that put the game beyond Loreto.
Fellow substitute O’Meara drove home a second Loreto goal in the dying minutes but Scoil Chríost Rí had enough to seal a famous win.
Scorers – Scoil Chríost Rí: O Hennessy 1-2, E Fitzpatrick 1-1 (0-1f), E Lawlor 0-4, S Larkin 1-0, S Dooley 0-1, J Cahill 0-1, I O’Toole 0-1.
Loreto Clonmel: C Mulcahy 1-1, A O’Meara 1-0, A Fennessy 0-3 (2f), A Carey 0-3, K Hogan 0-2, Á Fitzgerald 0-1.
Scoil Chríost Rí: A Hyland; N Crowley, R Reddin, S Fleming; C Byrne, Z Keegan, L Keane; I O’Toole, S Larkin; E Fitzpatrick, J Murphy, E Lawlor; S Dooley, A Dunne, O Hennessy.
Sub: J Cahill for Keegan (half-time).
Loreto: E McKeown; S Hallinan, V Van Der Wal, G Nugent; N Martin, B Valuntaite, A Morris; K Hogan, B McMaugh; Á Fitzgerald, A Carey, E Quirke; C Mulcahy, A Fennessy, S Keating.
Sub: A O’Meara for Keating (64).
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).Tweet