Hickey’s golden goal gives Crescent title

CAROL HICKEY’S golden goal earned Crescent College Comprehensive a historic victory in the Munster Schoolgirls Senior Hockey Cup final at Garryduff yesterday.

The goal came in the 32nd minute following a penalty corner and the score was sufficient to earn Crescent their first senior crown.

And making the occasion all the sweeter, the triumph was the first by a Limerick team since Laurel Hill’s great achievement in 1974.

Not surprisingly the joyous occasion was suitably celebrated as Crescent fans had seen their physically stronger side force the pace from the bully off They came close to gaining the lead in the first minute when Lorraine McGowan beat several defenders in a dazzling run but Mount Mercy’s Audrey O’Flynn saved the day with a marvellous tackle.

Further Limerick pressure followed as the younger Cork girls were slow to settle and, passing the ball around in confident fashion, Crescent came close on several occasions.

Mount Mercy forced their first penalty corner in the 18th minute and while a score did not result, there was a marked improvement in their play.

They matched their more fancied opponents up to half-time but were rocked by that Hickey score within two minutes of the restart. Crescent had come out with all guns blazing and forced two penalty corners in the space of a minute before the Mercy defence finally yielded to the pressure.

In another penalty corner move, the outstanding Fenagh Smith set up Hickey for a shot which was brilliantly saved at the post by O’Flynn before the alert Hickey smacked the rebound to the net.

Within seconds, Mercy goalkeeper Susan O’Leary did well to save and McGowan was narrowly wide with a great drive on the rebound but, after this let-off, the Cork girls came much more into the game.

Good moves by Julie O’Halloran, Cliona Sargent, Jane Cunningham, Miriam Crowley and Claire Crowley brought out the best in the Crescent defence Crescent team captain Smith, Fiodhna Burke, Ciara Storan, Jennifer Egan and Jane Quinlivan kept their cool, however, and some excellent passing got them out of a few dangerous situations.

They were also relieved to scramble away a 52nd minute Mount Mercy penalty corner well executed by O’Flynn, Sargent and O’Halloran with goalkeeper Eibhlis Quaid saving from the last named.

In the final minutes, Cork captain Orla O’Callaghan made a great attempt to secure an equaliser and, in the last few seconds Louise Fitzgerald forced a penalty corner which the Crescent defence scrambled clear. The whistle sounded immediately and Crescent were left to celebrate a wonderful occasion.

CRESCENT COLLEGE: Eibhlis Quaid, Kate Galvin, Jennifer Egan, Fenagh Smith, Ellen Behan, Judith Murphy, Carol Hickey, Fiodhna Burke, Jane Quinlivan, Ciara Storan, Lorraine Magowan. Sub: Ruth McKenna.

MOUNT MERCY: Susan O’Leary, Orla O’Callaghan, Audrey O’Flynn, Orla Crowley, Cliona Sargent, Jane Cunningham, Jean Long, Claire Crowley, Julie O'Hallorhan, Miriam Crowley, Jenny Owens. Sub: Louise Fitzgerald.

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