Munster Win Interprovincial Title
Munster claimed their fourth consecutive Interprovincial title in a windswept Willow Park on Sunday afternoon.
Wim Koervermans, International Performance Director and Noel King, Women’s International Manager were present during the weekend to watch sixty eight of the top players in Irish Schools battle it out for Provincial honours as well as possible selection to the Schools International Team.
The Munster Champions were unbeaten in the gruelling three match series. The team notched up seven superb goals only conceding once to claim the coveted title.
Connacht were the only province who could upset their winning ways in the final match of the series. However, it wasn’t going to be easy as Connacht would have to win by three clear goals to snatch the title from Munster thus ensuring a thrilling finale to the weekend’s football.
Munster got the perfect start as they registered a goal after just four minutes. Rebecca Kearney, Colaiste Choilm flicked the ball forward from midfield to find Clare Shine of Regina Mundi School, Cork in space. The youngster side stepped two defenders to place the ball past the diving Connacht Keeper.
Connacht experienced a purple patch with twenty minutes played but unfortunately couldn’t find an equaliser before half time.
Connacht started the second half as they did the first with some fine football. With forty minutes on the clock, Allana Naughton (St. Mary’s Ballina) found herself with a shot on goal which was bravely saved by Munster’s Shaughagh O’Brien in goal.
Kaleigh Danning of Summerhill, Athlone set up Allana Naughton with a great through ball only for the ball to sail past the post.
Munster pressed forward but were unlucky not to score when Zoe O’Donoghue’s effort was saved by goal keeper Ashley Rose.
Dom Coll made some tactical substitutions and introduced Anna Lane of Presentation College, Athenry. Her introduction nearly paid dividends with her first touch on the ball as she came close to equalising in the 51st minutes. Her powerful strike hit the outside of the post and wide.
Denise O’Sullivan of Terence MacSwiney College had an opportunity to increase her teams lead with a slicing volley from close range which glided agonising over the crossbar in the 53rd minute.
Unfortunately Connacht couldn’t make the most of the catalogue of chances and Munster secured the narrow win they needed to claim the title yet again.
In the first of Sunday morning’s matches Leinster were up against Ulster in the penultimate fixture.
The game came to life in the 6th minute with a goal courtesy of Lauren Ebbs of Manor House School, Raheny. Her shot was hit with pace and aimed low to the keeper’s left leaving Fiona Callan with no chance.
Aine Bennett of Eureka Kells got Leinster’s second on 17 minutes with some excellent individual play and a cool finish.
Georgina Gordon of Carndonagh Community College got a goal back for Ulster just before half time with a long range effort.
9 minutes into the second half Lauren Ebbs secured her second of the morning when she slid in on goal to crash the ball into the Ulster net.
Rosie Gallagher of Crana College made it 3-2 with 43 minutes played when there was a mix up in the Leinster defence gifting her a goal on the edge of the 6 yard box.
Five minutes later, Shauna Newman’s corner was met by the head of Michelle Farrell, Moyne Community School to give Leinster a two goal cushion.
Farrell wrapped up proceedings in the 53rd minutes with her second of the morning when her shot was not dealt with properly by the Ulster keeper and drifted in the net to secure a 5-2 victory for Paul Howard’s side.
Saturday’s draw saw Munster face Leinster in the first encounter of the morning. Howard had his side well prepared for this test and Munster was up for the challenge that lay ahead.
There was little between the sides in the first half. Emma Russell of Holy Child School Killiney had two chances to score for Leinster early on but both shots went wide of the upright.
Munster broke the deadlock just before half time courtesy of Zoe O’Donoghue, St. Declan’s Waterford. Her snap shot fired low into the left corner.
With the second half commencing, Munster dominated the early advances. Again Zoe O’Donoghue had an opportunity to go 2-0 up but a wonderful save from Nicole Cranny denied the Waterford girl a second in the game.
Leinster pressed forward and their good display of possession football lead Chloe Mustaki with an opening on goal. However Amanda Budden of Christ the King Secondary School in Cork produced the save of the tournament with a one handed save which tipped the ball over the crossbar much to the relief of the Munster defence.
Three minutes later Munster were awarded a free kick from 20 yards out. Rebecca Kearney bulleted the ball past the diving keeper and scored a tremendous long range effort to seal victory for Claire Wehrley’s girls.
The Interprovincial campaign commenced on Friday afternoon with Leinster drawn against Connacht in the first of the day’s matches. The fixture proved to be a very entertaining game which saw Leinster and Connacht at logger heads for most of the 60 minutes of football.
Karima Bouzzah of Loreto Balbriggan was first to react to a defensive error in the 15th minute but her effort drifted wide.
Stephanie Hewitt was also on form with a good run through the centre of midfield but the shot was slightly off target.
St. Killian’s Chloe Mustaki had her attempt on goal saved in the 18th minute while Michelle Farrell missed a clear header on goal in the 28th minute.
Connacht’s defence held strong through the barrage of Leinster pressure and good work from Ciara Cormican of Presentation College, Athenry saw her clear the ball off the goal line early in the second half.
Unfortunately Connacht couldn’t break quick enough on the counter attack to produce a winner in the nil all draw.
The second of the day’s fixtures was a livelier affair with Munster up against Ulster. Sean McFadden told the girls they had nothing to fear as they prepared to do battle with the reigning Champions.
Letterkenny’s Marion Doherty had the only real opportunity to open the scoring in the 3rd minute when her attempt was tipped over the crossbar by a flexible Munster keeper.
The second half was a completely different affair with an onslaught of goals.
Munster were awarded a corner kick with 8 minutes played. Carrigaline’s Lauren Murphy delivered a superb cross in the box which was met by the head of Rebecca Kearney, her effort crashing the ball into the back of the net for a great opening goal.
Denise O’Sullivan was awarded a penalty after been fouled in the box with 50 minutes played. Up stepped the experienced Colaiste Choilm player, Kearney to secure her second of the afternoon.
Two minutes later the Colaiste Choilm youngster secured her hat trick after a well taken free kick.
With 53 minutes on the clock, Ulster’s Gemma McGuinness from Moville Community College made a break on the right wing to round the keeper and score Ulster’s opening goal of the tournament.
Denise O’Sullivan made it 4-1 courtesy of Clare Shine’s run from midfield while O’Sullivan tapped in from close range with 56 minutes gone.
To Ulster’s credit they were the only side to score against Munster in this tournament and should be proud of their performances over the course of the weekend.
The players performed well over the course of the tournament and the standard of football is improving every year.
Michael Gallagher (Summerhill Athlone) and his colleagues, Margaret Mulhall (Moville Community College) and Dave Collins (Alexandra College, Dublin) will now select a provisional panel to attend International trials over the course of the next few months as they prepare for the Bob Docherty Tournament which will take place in Jordanstown on the 6/7/8 April 2009.
Friday 14 November
2.00pm Leinster 0-0 Connacht
3.30pm Munster 4-1 Ulster
Saturday 15 November
1.45pm Munster 2-0 Leinster
3.00pm Ulster 0-0 Connacht
Sunday 16 November
10.00am Leinster 5-2 Ulster
11.30am Munster 1-0 Connacht
LEINSTER: Nicole Cranny (Heywood Community College), Paula Doran (Confey College, Leixlip), Lauren Ebbs (Manor House), Niamh Walsh (St. Dominic’s Sancta Sabina), Erica Cahill (Trinity Comprehensive), Karima Bouzzah (Loreto Balbriggan), Stephanie Hewitt (St. Oliver’s Community College), Aine Bennett (Eureka Kells), Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Vocational School), Emma Russell (Holy Child Killiney), Chloe Mustaki (St. Killian’s DSD), Michelle Farrell (Moyne Community School), Shauna Newman (St. Oliver’s Community College), Sarah Madden (Ballymahon Convent of Mercy), Sarah Shannon (Ballymahon Convent of Mercy), Elizabeth McEnamey (Loreto Balbriggan), Louise Burke (Sacred Heart, Drogheda).
Management: Paul Howard (Loreto College, Crumlin), Richelle O’Neill (Colaiste Choilm, Tullamore), Joe Stafford (Skerries Community College).
MUNSTER: Amanda Budden (Christ the King Secondary School, Cork), Zelika Brown (St. Caimin’s Community School), Shannon Carson (St. Vincent’s Secondary School, Cork),
Aisling Fox (Christ the King Secondary School), Carys Johnson (Colaiste Mhuire, Buttevant), Rebecca Kearney (Colaiste Choilm, Cork), Taylor Kruschel (St. Mary’s High, Midleton,), Laura Lynch (Mount Mercy College, Cork), Laura McMahon (St. Caimin’s Community School), Aisling Mullen (St. Flannan’s College), Lauren Murphy (Carrigaline Community School), Zoe O’Donoghue (St. Declan’s, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford), Denise O’Sullivan (Terence MacSwiney College, Cork), Clare Shine (Regina Mundi, Cork), Sinead Tuohy (St. Caimin’s Community School), Amy Wilson (North Presentation, Cork), Shaunagh O’Brien (St. Flannan’s College)
Management: Claire Wehrley (St. Flannan’s College), Therese Hartley (University of Limerick), Eric Nelligan (St. Munchin’s College, Limerick), Richard Grimes (St. Caimin’s Community School)
CONNACHT: Ashley Rose (Convent of Mercy, Westport), Anna Lane (Presentation College), Laura Carroll (Dominican College, Galway), Allana Naughton (St. Mary’s Secondary School), Ena Butler (St. Paul’s, Oughterard), Ciara Cormican (Presentation College), Emma Hansbury (Ursuline College, Sligo), Grace Kelly (St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh), Shauna Jackson (Holy Rosary College, Mountbellow), Niamh Kelly (St. Louis Community School), Sarah Rowe (St. Mary’s Secondary School), Kaleigh Danning (St. Joseph’s College, Summerhill), Roisin Caffrey (Scoil Muire Agus Padraig, Swinford), Sarah Dowd (Elphin Community College), Laura Keane (Convent of Mercy, Westport), Linda Corcoran (Presentation College), Lisa Heffernan (St. Paul’s, Oughterard)
Management: Dom Coll (Presentation College), Seamus Mac Eachmharcaigh (Sacred Heart School, Westport), Sean Boland (Convent of Mercy, Roscommon), Joanna Byrne (Summerhill, Athlone).
ULSTER: Fiona Callen (Inver College, Monaghan), Maria Carr (Loreto Convent, Letterkenny), Marion Doherty (Loreto Convent), Evelyn McGinley (PCC Farcarragh), Fiona Allen (Deele College, Raphoe), Eimear Lafferty (Moville Community College), Rosie Gallagher (Crana College, Buncrana), Gemma McGuinness (Moville Community College), Karen Delaney (Monaghan), Lauren Harper (Loreto Convent), Charmaine McDermott (Moville Community College), Niamh McGlinchey (Deele College), Georgina Gordon (Carndonagh Community College), Niamh McBride (St. Columbas College), Emma O’Donnell (Crana College), Mary O’Donnell (Loreto Convent), Louise McLaughlin (Carndonagh Community College).
Management: Sean McFadden (Crana College, Buncrana), Denise Dowds (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Nicola Roache (St. Columbas College), Michelle Duffy (Loreto Convent, Letterkenny).
Photos available on request