Loreto St Michael’s Navan 3-9 Sacred Heart Westport 0-15
By Oisín McGovern
A hat-trick from Lauren Woods saw Loreto St Michael’s from Navan win their first ever Lidl All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior A title in an exciting final.
An inspired display from Meath senior Ciara Smyth also played a big part in securing a famous victory for them at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford in a game was played at a rapid and free-flowing tempo right from the throw-in.
Sacred Heart drew first blood through an Aoife Staunton free before their opponents hit back with a slick move which ended with Rebecca Reilly feeding Woods, who beat Alex Connor with a superb finish.
The Connacht champions responded well and hit four unanswered scores from Staunton, Hannah Sheehy, Laura Moran and Christina McEvilly.
Scores from Lucy Reynolds and Smyth levelled matters, but Westport pulled away to a five-point half-time lead.
Inspired by Moran and Sarah Mulroy, Sean Coyle’s side could have had a goal of their own in the 24th minute.
But goalkeeper Connor produced top class saves to keep shots from Sarah Mulroy and Ava Kelly in either half.
A long-range Moran point and Staunton free saw Sacred Heart into a 0-11 1-3 half-time lead.
Loreto St Michael’s made a contest of it when Tara Traynor and Smyth combined to set up Woods to finish her second goal from close range.
Goalkeeper Connor denied Sacred Heart for a second time when she parried an effort from Sacred Heart wing-back Ava Kelly minutes later.
The Mayo school scored only four points in the second-half, but still maintained a lead against a rejuvenated Loreto St Michael’s.
Smyth ran rampant for the Meath ladies, sending one goal attempt centimetres wide of the posts.
Despite their best efforts, the Leinster ladies could not breach what looked like an impregnable Westport lead.
That was until the 58th minute when Smyth levelled with a point before Woods netted her hat-trick to put the Meath school three ahead.
Smyth made the lead four before Chloe Chambers dragged it back to three in the dying moments, but there was to be no comeback for Sacred Heart Westport.
Loreto St Michael’s Navan – L Woods 3-1, C Smyth 0-5 (2f), L Reynolds, R Reilly, SJ Lyons 0-1 each.
Sacred Heart Westport – A Staunton 0-5 (2f) L Moran 0-5 (4f); S McCarney, C McEvilly, H Sheehy, A Palasz, C Chambers 0-1 each.
LORETO ST MICHAEL’S: A Connor; M Clarke, M Coyne, S Finnegan; I O’Connor, Z Harte, L Dwyer; R Reilly, M Brady; SJ Lyons, C Smyth, L Reynolds; L Woods, T Traynor, E Brogan.
Subs: O Reilly for Reynolds (ht); R O’Neill for Finnegan (45).
SACRED HEART WESTPORT: A Calvey; E Geraghty, A McDonnell, R Cafferkey; A Kelly, B Hoban, E Hyland; S Mulroy, S McCarney; L Hastings, L Moran, H Sheehy; A Palasz, A Staunton, C McEvilly.
Subs: E Carney for Hyland (34), C Chambers for McEvilly (45), L Kelly for Hoban (57).
Ref: Shane Curley (Galway)Tweet