Crescent College at last taste national success

Crescent College Comprehensive became just the third Munster school to taste national glory in 20 years as they claimed the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships in Galway yesterday. 

Sean O’Callaghan’s charges, who beat Sullivan Upper 6-2 and drew with St Gerard’s on day one, came from behind to beat Kilkenny College 2-1 early yesterday to stay in contention. Gerard’s set them a three-goal target for their final clash with Salerno but an Aebfhinn Bourke-inspired 4-0 success secured the crown for last year’s runners-up.

It completes a long odyssey for the Limerick school, who have been Munster kingpins in four of the past five seasons but had found national glory harder to come by.

They join Ursulines Thurles (1996) and Mount Mercy (2006) as Munster winners in the modern era.

Meanwhile, a sixth different men’s Irish Senior Cup winner will be decided tomorrow — and Cork C of I hope it could be their turn for a fairytale ending. The Garryduff men watched local rivals Harlequins win the 2012 competition as rank outsiders and are desperate to add to their own ISC haul, the last title came in 1999.

In today’s semi-final at UCD they face a Railway Union side who have endured a much longer famine; 1938 was their last success and they lost that 2012 decider to Quins in heartbreaking fashion.

C of I imploded in the last 12 minutes to throw away a two-goal lead in their Irish Hockey League clash with Railway but will draw inspiration from an incredibly efficient display in their shock quarter-final win at Lisnagarvey — despite losing the circle entry count 36-7, David Hobbs’ men prevailed 4-3.

Whoever wins will be huge underdogs in the final against either Pembroke Wanderers or Banbridge, both Irish Hockey League semi-finalists. Pembroke boast the meanest defence in Leinster while Bann have won the Anderson and Kirk Cups up north and a single draw is the only blemish on their record in all competitions.

The women’s decider is a novel pairing of Hermes and Ulster Elks, both of whom supplied key members of Ireland’s World League 2 success last week. For Hermes this is part of a potential quadruple while the Elks are seeking a maiden national crown.

Munster clubs feature in the semi-finals of both the men’s and women’s Irish Hockey Trophy; last year’s beaten finalists Bandon visit Donegal’s Raphoe — surely the longest away trip in Irish hockey — while women’s holders Cork C of I are also in Ulster to face Larne.

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