Loreto teams one game away from Leinster finals
It was a successful November for Loreto Secondary School football as both their Senior and Junior teams reached the Leinster semi-final stages of their respective competitions.
Eureka (Kells) from Meath stand between the Seniors and their fourth consecutive final, while the last two holders of the 'A' competition, Portlaoise and Stillorgan's Coláiste Iosagáin, contest the other semi-final.
Loreto went into their final group game against Edenderry knowing anything other than victory would end their interest in the competition at the group stages. Loreto dominated possession in the opening minutes but they couldn't convert their chances into scores, while Edenderry were much more clinical in the early exchanges.
Emily Coakley got Loreto's opening point, and the recently-crowned Leinster young player of the year added three more points to leave the scores at 0-4 apiece going into the closing stages of the half.
Finally Loreto's dominance paid off with a late Rachael Cantwell goal thanks to some great play from full-forward Cathy O'Connor who registered a point herself which left the scores at 1-5 to 0-4 at the break.
Loreto started the half as they finished it, with another green flag raised as Katie Hannigan of St. Anne's registered her first of the afternoon as Loreto raced into a 2-7 to 0-5 lead.
This seemed to wake Edenderry into life and their midfield began to supply their clinical forward line again, and two quick goals and a point put the minimum between the sides.
The next score was crucial and it was Rachel Cantwell who was nicely placed at the edge of the square to register her second green flag.
Loreto didn't let up this time. Fresh legs were brought in and Becky Hamilton of St. Martin's had the biggest impact.
Only on the pitch a matter of minutes, she teed up Katie Hannigan for her second goal and then finished into the corner herself to leave it at 5-8 to 2-7.
Three more goals from Cathy O'Connor, Niamh Buckley and Emily Coakley left the final scoreline at 8-10 to 2-10 which didn't reflect how closely-contested a game this was until the final ten minutes.
Eureka (Kells) are now the next hurdle in Loreto's search for a first Senior 'A' title since 2013.
The Loreto Junior footballers have also reached the Leinster semi-final having topped their group and are joined by fellow Wexford school Coláiste Bríde (Enniscorthy) in the knockout stages.
With two wins from two against Mercy (New Ross) and Offaly's Edenderry, Loreto just needed to avoid defeat to be assured of top spot while Coláiste Bríde knew victory for them would see them leapfrog their counterparts at the top of the group.
Under the lights of St. Patrick's Park, Loreto came out on top on a scoreline of 7-7 to 0-5, with the clinical Rachel Bennett registering three of the goals.
The semi-final pairings now see Coláiste Bríde playing Moate Community School while Loreto (Wexford) will host St. Joseph's Mercy (Navan) for a place in the Leinster Junior 'B' decider.
All of Wexford will be hoping for a local derby in that final.