St Andrew’s produced an incredible comeback to fight their way into the Kate Russell All-Ireland School’s Championship final, recovering from a three goal deficit to tie with Royal School, Armagh in Galway today.
Laura Pinder hit home a short corner on the final hooter to level the game 3-3 and advance ahead of the Ulster champions – who were going for a third title in four years – on goal difference by virtue of an earlier 6-0 win over Salerno.
Armagh mustered four goals against the Galway side and looked on course to take up a final berth when youth internationals Leah Ewart and Anna-Mae Morton along with Jill Johnston built what looked a commanding lead against Andrew’s.
But Niamh Atcheler gave them a lifeline 20 minutes from the end before Chloe Watkins netted a penalty stroke to set up a grandstand finish.
Zoe Troughton kept out numerous penalty corners from the Dubliners but she was powerless to prevent Pinder’s last gasp effort, capping an incredible comeback.
The Booterstown school now face reigning champions Colaiste Iognaid in the final today (1.30pm).
The Jes had a slightly simpler passage, defeating Crescent College 3-0 before coming back from a goal deficit to defeat Loreto, Kilkenny before winning out 3-2 with Brenda Flannery, Lynsey Trainor, Elaine Carey and Katie Codyre key performers
It sets up a repeat of last year’s epic group match which ended 2-2 in normal time, precipitating a penalty shoot-out to see who topped the group after all variables were tied.
The Galway girls prevailed 4-2 before defeating Foyle in the final to take the trophy back to Connacht for the first time since 1988.
Group B Royal School Armagh 4 (Joanne Orr, Sarah McMahon, Leah Ewart, Beccy Anderson) Salerno 0; St Andrews 6 (Niamh Atcheler, Laura Stephens, Hayley Sarratt, Chloe Watkins, Sophie Marshall, Joanne Lavery) Salerno 0; Royal School Armagh 3 (Leah Ewart, Anna-Mae Morton, Jill Johnston) St Andrews 3 (Laura Pinder, Niamh Atcheler, Chloe Watkins) Standings: 1. St Andrew’s 3pts (+6) 2. Royal School Armagh 3pts (+4) 3. Salerno 0pts (-10)
Friday’s fixtures: Final,1.30pm: St Andrew’s vs Colaiste Iognaid 3rd/4th place, 11.30am: Loreto, Kilkenny vs Royal School, Armagh 5th/6th place, 9.30am: Salerno vs Crescent College