Ursulines Thurles’ hopes of a first Subway All-Ireland Schoolgirls title since 1996 are all but dead as Kilkenny College and Banbridge Academy led the way on the first day of the national championships at Havelock Park yesterday.
Eimear Cregan’s side were competitive in their search for the Kate Russell Cup, but went down 1-0 to a Yasmin Pratt-inspired Kilkenny College before losing 2-0 to Leinster representatives Muckross Park in their second encounter.
With Kilkenny trouncing Connacht’s Colaiste Iognaid 4-0 and Bann recording a pair of 2-0 wins against the same opponents and Muckross, the clash of Bann and Killkenny at 11am could prove decisive.
Ursulines, whose 2-1 Munster final win over Crescent gave them a first provincial crown in 20 years, take on Coláiste Iognaid and Banbridge today hoping for two victories to put them in the frame for second or third place in the five-team competition.
Elsewhere, Bandon Grammar completed the first part of what they hope will be a double for their flagship side as they claimed the Senior A Plate with a 3-0 win over Scoil Mhuire in the decider. They’ll face Crescent in the coming weeks in a playoff for the Senior A league after the sides finished level on points at the summit.
It was a week to remember for Regina Mundi as the school claimed two titles. They retained the Senior B Cup as Olivia O’Connor’s decisive touch in an early goalmouth scramble, allied to some heroics from Roisin Hayes between the sticks, gave them a 1-0 final success over Midleton College in East Cork.
The Douglas school also claimed their first A-grade league title in many years as their Minor A team won their league with a game to spare, a success built on five clean sheets in seven outings.
Meanwhile, there will be a novel pairing in the boys’ Senior Cup final following Villiers’ shock 4-2 semi-final success at Bandon Grammar in midweek — they’ll take on Waterford’s Newtown in the decider, meaning there is no Cork school in the boys Senior Cup final for the first time this century.
Meanwhile, domestic club hockey in Munster is wrapping up but there is plenty of interest at national level. Belvedere’s women and Catholic Institute’s men contest the Irish Hockey Challenge finals in UCD tomorrow, with Cork Church of Ireland’s men and Bandon’s women defending their Irish Junior Cup and Irish Hockey Trophy titles at the same venue on Sunday.
Cork Church of Ireland’s firsts face leaders Banbridge in a heavyweight EY Hockey League clash at Garryduff tomorrow (2.30pm), while Leeside onlookers can also take in the clash of Cork Harlequins’ women with Ards at Farmer’s Cross beforehand (1pm).
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