31 January 2024

~3 minutes read

No joy for Pres Athenry girls in National Cup semi-final

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No joy for Pres Athenry girls in National Cup semi-final

DEFENDING SENIOR GIRLS NATIONAL CUP CHAMPIONS Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana are through to a second successive All-Ireland final following a hard-fought victory over Presentation College, Athenry in Ray MacSharry Park, Sligo yesterday afternoon (January 30th).

Athenry had beaten Coláiste na Coiribe, Cnoc na Cathrach in their provincial final which was a huge scalp for them. However, they were without their Captain Sky Corcoran for the crunch encounter as she picked up a foot injury in the last game. James O’Donnell’s side was well served by Kerri O’Driscoll, Victoria Lundstrom and Niamh Kilgannon. While Buncrana were formidable with the Loughrey duo, Ferguson, Bradley and McGilloway.

All the magic was produced in the first half with four exceptional goals dispatched as the players went toe to toe. Buncrana were fortunate with their opening goal as Jodie Loughrey’s knee connected with Sienna Bradley’s corner to slot past the Athenry keeper in a congested box with nine minutes played. Aoife Doherty doubled their tally four minutes later when she slotted in from close range. Athenry’s Leah Moran forced an excellent save from Hollie Ferguson between the posts to keep Buncrana with that two-goal cushion. Ferguson had a rash tackle on Victoria Lundstrom deep into the first period and she was lucky to see just yellow from match official Richard Barry.

The game came alive when Kerri O’Driscoll got a vital goal for Athenry to bring them to within one just on the stroke of half-time. However, two minutes into injury time, Scoil Mhuire grabbed a crucial third as Keri Loughrey converted inside the box. The Galway girls were unfortunate not to increase their goal tally just before the whistle as Leah Moran came agonisingly close to rattling the net from the right wing, but the shot went wide of the target. A pulsating conclusion to the half as Scoil Mhuire led 3-1 at the interval.

The second forty was just as entertaining as Sienna Bradley’s strike skimmed off the crossbar five minutes after the re-start. Substitute Amira Bouhlel McNamara had an impact when introduced as she forced Ferguson into a fine save while Heidi Gill tested Cunney at the other end and she was equally as good at denying the Buncrana youngster. Jodie Loughrey put in a last-ditch tackle to stop the onrushing Amria Bouhlel McNamara right at the death to ensure Scoil Mhuire’s advancement. A fantastic team effort from Paddy Carr’s charges who came up against some impressive opposition. A wonderful display from both sets of players on the day.

Scoil Mhuire now await the winners of the other semi-final which sees Athlone Community College take on Presentation Secondary School, Thurles. That showcase is scheduled for Thursday in Killavilla United, Roscrea (1.30pm) The National Cup Final will take place on Wednesday, February 21 with the venue to be confirmed (1.0)

SCOIL MHUIRE, BUNCRANA | Ferguson, Graham, McGee, Deehan, J Loughrey, Gill, O’Donnell, K Loughrey ©, McGilloway, Doherty, Bradley

SUBS USED | E Doherty for O’Donnell (59), K Lynch for A Doherty (70),

SUBS NOT USED | Rutherford, McCallion, E McColgan, Anthany, R Doherty

TEACHER | Paddy Carr

PRESENTATION COLLEGE, ATHENRY | Cunney, Feeney, Whyte, Kilkenny, Kilgannon, Jordan, Moran, O’Driscoll ©, Lundstrom, M Noone, Sweeney

SUBS USED | S Hogan for Moran (61), A Bouhlel McNamara for Sweeney (61), R Cloonan for Lundstrom (80+2)

SUBS NOT USED | Gilligan, K Noone, Costelloe, Brannelly

TEACHERS | James McDonnell, Emer Kilgannon, Dom Coll

MATCH OFFICIAL | Richard Barry (Sligo)

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