Loreto edged out
Loreto Under-16 footballers' busy year continued recently as the 'B' team aimed to follow the 'A' team's provincial success by securing the Leinster Junior 'E' title. Bray Emmets was the venue and Sacred Heart (Drogheda) stood in their way.
Sacred Heart 4-5 Loreto (Wexford) 3-7
The Spawell Road outfit made the brighter start. The energetic Emma Berry ran at her marker from the first whistle and was at the heart of everything good that came from Loreto in the first-half.
Her opening point was soon followed by a goal from Ballygarrett's Niamh O'Connor. The centrefield duo of Amy Cousins and Ciara Banville dominated the opening exchanges, with the latter making it 1-2 to nil.
Drogheda's Emma Jane Bell got their opening score and this seemed to settle the team down. Three more points soon followed, two from Jill Kenny and another from Bell, to leave the minimum between the sides.
Loreto's Carla Fusciardi-Wallace got on the end of a well-worked move for a point which started with some great defensive work from the lively Liadh Dwyer and Eleanor Lacey.
Drogheda continued to threaten though and got they got the goal their effort deserved. Lanna Devine found herself in open space inside the large rectangle and although her effort was superbly saved by Loreto netminder Finola Monahan, she followed up to finish the rebound.
Monahan's exceptional save reflected her afternoon as the 'keeper's handling, shot-stopping and distribution of possession was pure class from the first whistle.
The half ended as it had started as Berry again pointed from the right half-forward position to leave Loreto one clear at the break (1-5 to 2-1).
The ferocious pace the game was being played at continued into the second-half, but the Louth school got the perfect start with two quickfire goals, the second a carbon copy of the first, into the roof of the net.
Loreto were not about to shy away and Carla Fusciardi-Wallace found herself in the right place to follow in on a Ciara Banville effort to see the green flag raised. That made it 3-4 to 2-5 - game on.
Loreto introduced Sophie Boxwell and her immediate impact was to score a goal and then set up Ciara Banville for a point to put the team 3-6 to 3-4 ahead, but Drogheda fought back. Another point was soon followed by a goal from substitute Chloe O'Reilly.
Loreto, now trailing by two, went in search of a winner. They bombarded the goal with chances in the last five minutes but they could only come out with a solitary Niamh O'Connor point.
It was a disappointing day but two Under-16 Leinster finals in 2016 shows there is plenty of talent within the school to continue to compete at the highest level in the coming years.
Loreto: Finola Monahan; Alanna Fusciardi-Wallace, Eleanor Lacey, Liadh Dwyer; Caitlin Carroll, Amy Cousins, Ciara Banville (0-2); Carla Fusciardi-Wallace (1-1), Michelle Carty; Emma Berry (0-2), Niamh O'Connor (1-1), Ellie Mernagh; Sophie Boxwell (1-0), Kathlyn Gabbett-Kehoe, Sarah Brennan. Subs. - Sally Bruen, Clíona Power, Ellen Berry, Mollie Bates, Aisling Murphy, Clare Barrett, Tara Lambert, Chloe O'Connor, Niamh Lacey, Maura Molloy, Jane Purcell, Fiona Kelly, Alannah Lacey, Philippa Breslin, Bernice Murphy, Caitlin Murphy, Méabh Byrne.