The Scoil Chríost Rí team which defeated Loreto Wexford in Tinryland on Thursday. Pic: Denis Byrne.
Scoil Chríost Rí Portlaoise made it a Leinster 'A' double on Thursday afternoon, as they added the Junior title to the Senior they won last Tuesday.
Fielding eight of the side which beat Stillorgan in last week's senior decider, Scoil Chríost Rí were overwhelming favourites coming into the game, and comfortably lived up to the billing.
The game was played in horrendous conditions, with a strong winds and heavy showers battering the players througout. It took Scoil Chríost Rí a few minutes to get their bearings, but once they did, Loreto had no answer to them.
Erone Fitzpatrick and Emma Lawlor inflicted most of the damage, scoring 3-9 between them. Both had starred for the Laois Ladies senior team on Sunday, which is remarkable really that two senior intercounty players would be lining out in a school's junior game, but such is the level of talent both possess.
Loreto had to play into the elements in the first half, but made little of the conditions to take an early lead. Portlaoise 'keeper Aimee Keane was penalised for picking up the ball while lying down in the small square, and Loreto were awarded a penalty. Centre-forward Eve Hession rifled home the spot-kick.
Despite having the benefit of a strong wind at their backs, Portlaoise took until the seventh minute to open their account. Emma Lawlor popped up with an opening point, and Erone Fitzpatrick added another moments later with a free.
Fitzpatrick's free from the right wing then eluded the 'keeper and dropped into the net, and floodgates would start to open after that. Fitzpatrick (3) and Lawlor (2) hit the next five points between them, before another Fitzpatrick free ended up in the back of the net for goal number two.
Emma Lawlor got her fourth point before Fitzpatrick intercepted a pass 45 yards out and played the St Paul's attacker through on goal, and she made no mistake. Julia Cahill got forward to kick a fine point before Fitzpatrick set Lawlor through on goal once more. Her shot lobbed over Sally Walker in the Loreto goal, with Ciara Byrne getting the final touch to see it over the line.
Another point apiece for each team left Chríost Rí in a commanding position at the break, 4-11 to 1-1 the score.
Understandably, given the weather and the force of the wind in favour of Loreto for the second half, much of the remainder of game was about defending for Chríost Rí. They ran the ball whenever they could, stringing some really impressive moves together.
They managed just two points in the second half, both from the excellent Isabelle O'Toole, and while Loreto did get one more goal, time and again they were thwarted by brilliant Chríost Rí defending.
That saw them comfortably over the line, as they now chase All-Ireland glory at both Junior and Senior level.
SCOIL CHRÍOST RÍ
Scorers: Erone Fitzpatrick 2-5 (2-2 frees), Emma Lawlor 1-4, Ciara Byrne 1-0, Isabelle O'Toole 0-2, Julia Cahill 0-1.
Team: Aimee Keane; Sarah Fleming, Rebecca Reddin, Ciara Byrne; Sophie Delahunt, Zoe Keegan, Julia Cahill; Alice Dunne, Sarah Larkin; Amy Byrne, Erone Fitzpatrick, Isabelle O'Toole; Lisa Buggy, Emma Lawlor, Jenny O'Connor Murphy. Subs: Lisa Keane for Buggy (38 mins), Aoibhe O'Brien for O'Connor Murphy (44 mins), Caoimhe Maher for Fleming (44 mins), Anna Kearns for Delahunt (49 mins), Laura Devoy for A Byrne (50 mins).
LORETO SS WEXFORD
Scorers: Eve Hession (pen), Ciara Banville 1-0 each, Anna Hennessy 0-2, Mollie Bates 0-1.
Team: Sally Walker; Caitlin Carroll, Anna Hennessy, Michelle Carty; Liadh Dwyer, Emily Bates, Ciara Banville; Aisling Gouldson, Ciara O'Connor; Niamh Dunne, Eve Hession, Amy Cousins; Sophie Boxwell, Mollie Bates, Ashling Alouf. Subs: Ella O'Connor for Cousins (38 mins), Shauna Hackett for for Gouldson (51 mins), Sadhbh Cullinane for Boxwell (54 mins), Clodagh Walshe for Dwyer (58 mins).
Referee: Jonathon Murphy (Carlow)