St Andrew's retain title with late strikes


HOCKEY LEINSTER SCHOOLS’ SENIOR CUP/St Andrews 2 Alexandra 0:TWO GOALS in the last seven minutes of yesterday’s final at Grange Road secured St Andrew’s their second Leinster Senior Cup in a row and their fifth since 2003, the year the school won the competition for the first time.

When they last attempted to retain the trophy, in 2007, Andrew’s lost 5-0 to Alexandra College in the final, but yesterday’s “rematch” was a closer affair, with extra-time looming when Gillian Pinder broke the deadlock.

Before then there was little to choose between the teams, both defences well on top in a game of few chances.

St Andrew’s captain Chloe Watkins, who won her third senior medal yesterday, had a crisply-struck shot saved from the first short corner of the game, before Alexandra came close to opening the scoring, Emily Beatty denied when her close-range effort was blocked.

Nine minutes before the break Harriet Kinsman came closer to giving St Andrew’s the lead, shooting just wide.

Alexandra began the second half brightly, superb runs by Aisling Burke and Grainne Mulkerrin creating unconverted openings for their team, but it was St Andrew’s who made the breakthrough seven minutes from time, Pinder slotting home after a surging run from deep.

A fortnight ago Sarah Woodroofe suffered a broken nose in a match and, to cap it all, then picked up the flu, but she summoned the strength to play yesterday, sealing her school’s victory with a goal in the final minute. St Andrew’s, then, will be Leinster’s representatives in the All-Ireland finals in Galway later this month.

ST ANDREW’S: T Ellis, N Atcheler, L Stephens, V Taaffe, L Pinder, H Sarratt, C Watkins (capt), G Pinder, S Woodroofe, S Marshall, H Meredith. Subs: H Kinsman, S Kavanagh, A Spain, L Gray, L Moran. Coach: Mandy Hollwey.

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE: L Porter, L Lenehan (capt), N Gray, D Duke, E Beatty, A Burke, R Evans, S Gibbons, S Mulkerrin, G Mulkerrin, E Hinkson. Subs: S McDermott, L Gibney, H McDermott, K Lenehan, R Traynor. Coach: Miles Warren.

Umpires: A Groves and D Acheson.