Williams Loughs down first title

by Gazette Reporter

ST LAURENCE’s College, Loughlinstown secured their first ever Bank of Ireland FAI Schools National Cup title following a pulsating penalty shoot-out win against favourites Dominican College, Taylor’s Hill.
In blustery conditions in Athlone IT, the Dublin girls entered into the unknown. John Rowe’s side had a comfortable win in their semi-final encounter with Abbey Community College of Waterford winning out 3-0 as well as a narrow 1-0 win over arch rivals Athlone Community College in their provincial clash.
But, for years, the school were always the bridesmaid and never the bride as Presentation SS, Kilkenny, Athlone CC and Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise beat them to Leinster titles.
The Taylor’s Hill outfit from Galway, meanwhile, featured a few familiar faces as Aoife Lynagh, the Hengerer twins, Meghen and Lily and Lucia Lobato who were all capped for the Under-15 Schools select last season.
Emilia Koziel is a trialist this season with Lorraine Counihan’s side as well as St Laurence goalkeeper Courtney Maguire. It made for a great contest
Emilia Koziel and the Hengerer twins were lively in the first period for Taylor’s Hill but the versatile Courtney Maguire kept them at bay with the sides scoreless at the break.
The game came to life two minutes into the second period when Loughlinstown starlet Jessie Morrissey rifled the ball into the back of the net from 25 yards out which left Alex Williams no chance.
However, the Taylor’s Hill equaliser came 10 minutes later as an Aoife Lynagh free kick fell to the feet of Meghen Hengerer who toe poked the ball into the net from the far post in a packed goal mouth.
No further goals were forthcoming as full time came to a close.
Extra time saw Aoife Lynagh rattle the side netting from a corner kick just five minutes in. This was matched by two quick fire shots on goal by Clara Mulligan but they failed to reach the target in the second period of extra time.
As penalties loomed, Taylor’s Hill made the bold move of changing goalkeeper as Aoife Lynagh lined out between the posts for the Galway girls.
The first two spot kicks were saved brilliantly by Maguire and Lynagh as Laurance’s hit the post on their second attempt. Maguire levelled it again with a fine save of Lobato’s effort. Both goalkeepers tested each other as both converted in fine fashion.
This left it to the eighth penalty which was angled wide from O’Connell. Up stepped St Laurence’s Suranne Williams who sustained the pressure and converted nicely to see her school win their first ever major title, an extra special moment in their 50th year.

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