Crescent’s ‘walking wounded’ defy odds to land All-Ireland

Limerick’s Crescent Comprehensive’s walking wounded defied the odds to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls’ Championships in Booterstown for the second time.

Crescent’s ‘walking wounded’ defy odds to land All-Ireland

Limerick’s Crescent Comprehensive’s walking wounded defied the odds to win the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls’ Championships in Booterstown for the second time. They ultimately prevailed on goal difference ahead of 2017 champions Banbridge Academy as a 6-1 win over Coláiste Iognaid proved pivotal.

Coach Cathal Duggan hailed an inspirational speech from Sarah Barry on Thursday night as the catalyst for their victory.

She sustained a broken jaw but returned to the team hotel to impress on her teammates how much the tournament meant to the squad. Murphy was followed to hospital by Aoife Hickey with an ankle injury while Ella Sorensen was ruled out of the latter part of the tournament after a blow to the head.

But Leah Clery’s hat-trick against the Galway side put them in a brilliant position, adding to Thursday’s 1-0 win over hosts St Andrew’s and a 1-1 draw with Banbridge. A win over holders Kilkenny College would have assured them the title but – despite Anna Horan’s brilliant showing – they could not break down a compact defence. It meant they had three hours to wait to finally be confirmed champs with both Bann and Kilkenny unable to overhaul them on goal difference.

“It was horrible to be honest,” Duggan told the Examiner of the wait. “I couldn’t even watch the second game. It’s was nerve-wracking. Eight points is a ridiculously low total to win this competition but it shows the quality and standard across the board. Our tournament hinged on that opening win over St Andrew’s and that gave us the momentum. It felt like everything clicked and Sarah Barry’s speech really set the team on its way.

Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships:

Colaiste Iognaid 1 Crescent Comprehensive 6 (L Clery 3, S Clein, A Hickey, C O’Meara); St Andrew’s College 0 Banbridge Academy 1 (K McDonald); Crescent Comprehensive 0 Kilkenny College 0; Banbridge Academy 3 (N Benallal 2, K McDonald) Colaiste Iognaid 0; Kilkenny College 0 St Andrew’s College 2 (M McCready, A Orr)

Standings: 1. Crescent Comprehensive 8pts (+6) 2. Banbridge Academy 8pts (+4) 3. St Andrew’s College 6pts (+:3) 4. Kilkenny College 5pts (-1) 5. Colaiste Iognaid 0pts (-12)

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