Leinster Girls Under-15 Final: So close for St Laurence
ZOE Keegan’s late winner was enough to secure a second-sucessive Leinster Girls’ Under-15 crown for Scoil Chríost Rí at the expense of a Laurence dream.
The Portlaoise school’s defence of the title they won thanks to a penalty-shootout victory over Presentation Kilkenny 12 months earlier looked in danger as Paula Belenguer swept the Laurence girls into a second-half lead.
However, last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists were not about to suffer anymore final heartache and Emma Lawlor capitalised on Erone Fitzpatrick’s second assist of the day to equalise, before the latter made it a hat-trick of contributions by feeding Keegan for a dramatic late winner at Peamount United.
Unlike Chríost Rí – who lost their third of three consecutive finals to Loreto Kilkenny in 2013 and only recently saw their Under-17s beaten by Presentation KIlkenny in the U17 decider – Laurence were new to this stage.
In fact, this group – backboned by five First Year players awaiting their own Leinster final next month – earned the school a first girls’ semi-final spot, before humbling giants Eureka Kells 5-0 to reach the final.
Leinster Interprovincial star Belenguer was the hero that day with four goals and she almost immediately made an impact in Tuesday’s final at Peamount United FC with a jinking run and shot.
Goalkeeper Aimee Keane denied the attacker and watched as Emma Lawlor capitalised on a through ball from Fitzpatrick to curl home the opening goal at the other end midway through a cagey first half.
Belenguer’s run and cross on the right set-up Clara Mulligan to equalise at the back post minutes into the second period and the former completed the turnaround with a superb lobbed goal minutes later.
The Portlaoise girls looked in trouble, but Fitzpatrick’s cross from the right set up Lawlor, before a near identical delivery and finish from Keegan with only minutes left decided the game.
Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise: Aimee Keane, Eabha Dunne, Aoife Daly, Maeve Phelan, Isabella O’Toole, Elaine Daly, Emma Lawlor, Chloe Langford, Zoe Keegan, Gillian Keenan, Erone Fitzpatrick, Amy Byrne, Kiahara Dempsey, Emily Gowing, Emily Jacob, Sarah Fleming, Kerrie Costello.
St Laurence College, Loughlinstown: Lacey O’Connell; Lana Doyle, Suranne Williams, Nikita Cawley, Aimee Forde, Angel Finnerty, Clara Mulligan, Molly Murphy, Shauna Lyons, Michaela Fox Walsh, Maya Stubbs, Courtney Maguire, Laragh Geogeghan, Katie Doyle, Bobbi Downer, Paula Belenguer, Jessie Morrissey.