Alexandra getting winning habit


HOCKEY/Schoolgirls' Leinster Senior Cup final/Alexandra College 5 St Andrews 0:When Alexandra College won the Leinster Senior Cup two years ago it was the school's first success in the competition since 1978. After yesterday's display at Grange Road, it would seem they're well and truly back in the cup-winning habit, their defeat of cup holders St Andrew's putting them through to the All-Ireland Schools Championships at the same venue later this month.

But while Alexandra were indisputably deserving winners the scoreline was desperately harsh on their opponents.

Indeed, St Andrew's had spells in the game, notably in the first 15 minutes of the second half, when they were on top, and they won twice as many short corners (six to three) as Alexandra. But, to state the obvious, the difference was the clinical fashion in which Alexandra took their chances.

That St Andrew's failed to score was largely down to the marvellously disciplined performance of the Alexandra defence - Beibhinn Delaney, Ailbhe Coyle, Hayley O'Donnell and Megan Duffy - with their midfield, marshalled by Katie O'Byrne, adding another protective shield when called upon. St Andrew's simply could find no way through.

Delaney gave Alexandra the lead after 19 minutes, forcing the rebound from a short corner past Elyse Clarke after she had saved the initial shot. Within two minutes the lead was doubled when, after superb work by Clara Coakley down the right, her cutback was turned home, first time, by Nicola Evans.

St Andrew's responded admirably, earning two short corners before the break and another three in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Rachel Burke and Chloe Watkins went close, but Alexandra effectively ended the contest 17 minutes into the second half when Evans, a member of the 2005 winning team, scored her second with a direct strike from a corner.

As St Andrew's pressed forward they conceded two more, from Lucy Dockrell (50 minutes) after a scramble in the circle, the second from Coakley (56) after a dazzling charge down the right.

Two Leinster Senior Cups in three years? After that 27-year drought Alexandra College have caught the winning bug.

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE: O Lyons-McKenna, H O'Donnell, A Coyle, B Delaney, M Duffy (capt), C Coakley, K O'Byrne, A McArdle, L Dockrell, N Evans, A Ward. Subs: A Freyne, A McCarthy, S Roche, C Scanlon, C McDermott. Coach: Miles Warren.

ST ANDREW'S: E Clarke, S O'Conaill, N Atcheler, L Willis, L Mullane, Chloe Watkins, C McGilp (capt), G Lane, Courtney Watkins, R Burke, L O'Duffy. Subs: S Woodroofe, E Carson, R McFarlane, J Doran, G Pinder, T Ellis. Coach: Mary Logue.

Umpires: C Metchette and L Ingram.