Convent girls All-Ireland Champions
It has been a whirlwind couple of months for Scoil Chriost Rí on Portlaoise’s Borris Road. On and off the field it’s been a marvellous period for the burgeoning girls’ secondary school. The move to their present start-of-the-art campus with cutting edge academic and sporting facilities just three years ago has seen a corresponding rise in the success rate of the school’s sporting teams. It’s little wonder given the incredible sporting prowess of the county’s youth combined with sporting facilities that would be the envy of many universities never mind schools. In fact one would have to travel long and hard before meeting the equal of the gym, sports hall and pitches that both Scoil Chriost Rí and St. Mary’s CBS utilise on their campus.
Little did Scoil Chriost Rí realise last September that their new first years would go on to claim an unprecedented All-Ireland soccer title. Added to the talent of the new girls coming in was the managerial expertise of their coaches. Tom Moss had been a player who backboned Mountmellick United, on and off the field, for the best part of a decade while fellow teacher Stephen Goggins turned out for Portlaoise AFC’s first team for many seasons.
As is the case in most competitions the semi-final proved more difficult than the final. So it proved for these Laois girls as well. That last step to the final saw the young Portlaoise ladies crush St. Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties on a 6-2 scoreline. The Laois side hit the ground running against the Donegal outfit with Emma Lawlor slotting home a penalty just a couple of minutes into the tie. Just four minutes later and young Emma was celebrating her brace of goals after a scintillating run up the flank before cutting in and firing home. The Heath’s Erone Fitzpatrick then added a third with a powerful piledriver of a shot from outside of the area. Not content with that Lawlor wrapped up her hat-trick just 16 minutes into the game with a composed finish from close range. Young Fitzpatrick wasn’t to be outdone though and grabbed her second just before half-time. Gillian Keenan finished the scoring late on when scoring smartly from Elaine Daly’s set piece.
The final saw Connacht opposition in the shape of Scoil Muire gan Smal, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon blocking the Portlaoise’s side path to glory. However the Laois girls totally overpowered their Roscommon opponents to streak home to a thumping 7-2 victory. Emma Lawlor upped her display from the semi-final to notch a scarcely-believable 5 goals. Gillian Keenan added another to match her goal in the semi-final while Zoe Keegan notched the seventh goal.
This is the Portlaoise side’s semi-final lineup: Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise: Aimee Keane, Emer Healy, (Eabha Dunne 45), Aoife Daly, (Sophie Delhunt 13), Isabelle O’Toole, Maria Luttrell, Elaine Daly, (Emily Gowling 57), Emma Lawlor, Gillian Keenan, Chloe Langford, Zoe Keegan, Erone Fitzpatrick
Subs Not Used: Lorna Skeehan, Leah Dowling
Teachers: Stephen Goggin, Tom Moss