Penalty joy for Pres girls
Presentation Wexford 0 St Joseph's Lucan 0 (Pres: 3-2 on pens)
Presentation Wexford came through a tense penalty shoot-out to book their place in the FAI Schools First Year Leinster League 'B' final after a hard-fought battle in Ferrycarrig Park on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Chloe Carroll saved the fifth penalty from St. Joseph's and Molly Donohue had the honour of converting the spot-kick that sent the Presentation girls into the provincial final.
It was no more than the Wexford side deserved, as they were much the better side in extra-time as they somehow found extra reserves to peg their opponents back on an energy-sapping afternoon.
There was little between the teams in normal time, with both sides finding it difficult to create any clear-cut chances against resolute defences.
Aoife Burke was outstanding throughout for the Wexford outfit, superbly marshalling her defence and calmly making interceptions and blocks when St. Joseph's attempted to make inroads into Presentation territory.
The Slaneysiders began the game quite brightly with Alanna Busher-Carley looking capable of unlocking the St. Joseph's defence, but the visitors also had their moments and on 19 minutes Olivia O'Brien threatened when she sluiced through on a mazy run, but cool-as-ice Aoife Burke stepped in to make the interception.
Presentation full-back Abbie Sinnott also defended strongly, while also looking dangerous going forward down the right flank, and in the 27th minute she sent in a dangerous cross that was well gathered by goalkeeper Caoimhe Farrell.
Sinnott was again involved when the Wexford side caused a few hearts to skip a beat in the St. Joseph's defence on the stroke of half-time.
She teed up Aobhe Manley, who sent in a teasing delivery from the right, but Farrell did well to smother the ball at the feet of Alanna Busher-Carley.
Busher-Carley caused more panic in the St. Joseph's back-line five minutes into the second-half when she fired a sumptuous delivery into the box, but unfortunately none of her team-mates could get on the end of it.
Presentation continued to try to play their way through the St. Joseph's rearguard, while the Dubliners were always looking for the killer long ball over the top to create an opportunity.
That ploy almost paid off just a minute before the end of normal time when Sinead Daly raced clear, but Presentation could breathe again when referee Ger Morris ruled the striker had made her run too soon.
The Wexford girls really worked hard in extra-time, with Aobhe Manley coming into her own and two minutes in she made a lung-bursting run forward, but the support didn't arrive quickly enough.
Four minutes later she whipped in a dangerous cross after linking up with Aoife Hutton on the right wing, but the delivery was well held by the goalkeeper.
Katie Carroll was next to try her luck, when her effort went the wrong side of the post after good work from Aobhe Manley, while the latter was again in the thick of the action moments later, arrowing a shot narrowly wide from an acute angle.
Presentation continued to look the morely likely side to plunder the winner in the second period of extra-time with Aisling O'Sullivan going closest, warming Farrell's gloves after being found by Kate Barrett.
However, it was left to penalties to decide who would line out in the provincial showpiece and the Presentation girls held their nerve to progress. The final versus Killina Presentation, Tullamore is on Wednesday in IT Carlow at 11.45 a.m.
Presentation beat St. Raphaela's of Stillorgan in their last 16 tie and Katie Carroll (two) and Alanna Busher-Carley got their goals in a 3-0 quarter-final win over St. McDara's Templeogue.
Coach Scott Gaynor was delighted with the performance of his team and extremely proud of their wonderful run in the competition.
'It is an absolutely fantastic achievement for the girls to get to a Leinster final and it's nothing more than they deserve. They've trained hard all year in numbers and it's brilliant to see how they have developed over the past few months. Regardless of the sport they play, it's great to see the girls get involved in school life in their first year.
'Killina will be tough opponents in the final but we've nothing to lose and regardless of how the final goes, the girls have done themselves, their families, and the school proud,' he said.
Presentation Wexford: Chloe Carroll, Abi Sinnott, Rita Redmond, Nadia El Mousatti, Aoife Burke, Aoife Haughton, Molly Donohue, Aisling O'Sullivan, Aobhe Manley, Katie Carroll, Alanna Busher-Carley. Subs: Zoe Butler for Manley, Aobhe Manley for Carroll, Katie Carroll for Butler, Kate Barrett for Donohue, Molly Donohue for Busher-Carley, also Cadhla Byrne, Ciara Moore, Emma Barry.
St. Joseph's Lucan: Caoimhe Farrell, Rebecca Earley, Ellen Lyons, Ellen Maher, Grace Grogan, Olivia O'Brien, Frances Winter, Jessica Fitzgibbon, Ethena Hannon, Zeta Henryck, Sinead Daly. Sub. - Emma O'Brien for Grogan.
Referee: Ger Morris.