It was the Dooradoyle school’s fourth title in fifth years, a sequence interrupted only when Bandon Grammar beat them on penalty strokes in the 2012 decider, but this was their most impressive and comprehensive success.
Megan Mawhinney had them on the board after eight minutes when she redirected captain Michelle Barrett’s short corner bash to the backboard. That advantage was doubled just before the break when Mawhinney won the ball in her own circle, allowing Jane Kirby and Jenny Clein to engineer a counter-attack that was finished by Aebfhinn Bourke.
Despite Brona Dowling’s excellent performance at the back for Ursulines, Crescent were in unstoppable form and Barrett smacked home a corner in the fifth minute of the second half to leave Thurles with a mountain to climb.
Meabh O’Sullivan’s controlled flick picked out the top corner to put the result beyond doubt, before Clein teed up Niamh O’Keeffe for the fifth. Thurles replied with five minutes remaining, Kate Crotty nailing their signature out-and-in short corner, but it was barely a consolation for the shell-shocked Tipperary girls. For the members of Crescent’s squad who had lost the Junior Cup final to Thurles in January, it provided a modicum of revenge. But coach Sean O’Callaghan’s thoughts will already have turned towards the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls’ Championships later this month, the winning of which has long been the school’s aim. They finished second to Lurgan College last year and although the talismanic Clodagh Moloney has moved on, a squad boasting 13 players with Munster representative experience should have enough depth to challenge for honours again.
CRESCENT: N Keyes (GK), C Leahy, A Ryan, J Kirby, M Barrett (capt), N Power, M Mawhinney, N O’Keeffe, C Coffey, J Clein, Aisling Horan, A Bourke, M O’Sullivan, I Murphy, M Horan, C Murphy, O Curtin (GK), M Doran, Anna Horan.
URSULINES THURLES: S Timmons (GK), C Perdue, R Dowling (capt), A Booth, B Dowling, C Collins, A Bourke, L Costello, S Osbourne, B Danaher, M Kinane, R Perdue, K Crotty, R Herlihy, E Flanagan, C Casey.
Umpires: T Gray & K Brislane