The Squad: Niamh Keyes, Ciara Leahy, Orla Curtin, Megan Horan, Ciara Murphy, Michelle Barrett (Cpt), Nicole Power, Megan Mawhinney, Meabh O’Sullivan, Clodagh Coffey, Anna Horan, Aine Ryan (VCpt), Aisling Horan (VCpt), Aebfhinn Bourke, Jenny Clein, Jane Kirby, Niamh O’Keeffe, Bella Murphy, Molly Doran & Aoibhinn Maher
Another chapter was added to the remarkable sporting history of Crescent College Comprehensive sj when our senior girls captured the 2015 Kate Russell All-Ireland Hockey Championship, the first ever for the school . The euphoria that greeted the final whistle in our last game v Salerno on Friday afternoon was the culmination of many, many hours of hard work and dedication and resulted in Sean O’Callaghan’s long-held dream coming true. This was a remarkable achievement by the girls who have dominated Munster Senior Hockey for the past number of years and nobody can begrudge them their success.
This years Kate Russell tournament was hosted by the Connaught champions Salerno Secondary School and was held in the Dangan Sports Complex at NUIG. Our schedule began on Thursday with a game against the Ulster champions, Sullivan Upper School, and resulted in a comprehensive 6-2 victory with the girls carrying on from their convincing performance only two weeks earlier against UCT in the Munster final. The scorers against Sullivan were Aebfhinn Bourke (4), Meabh O’Sullivan and Niamh O’Keeffe. Next up were St Gerard’s College, Bray the Leinster winners and the game ended in a 2-2 draw with goals from Niamh O’Keeffe and Megan Mawhinney. A measure of the standards that the girls had set themselves meant that they were disappointed with the draw but as Sean was quick to point out if, at the start of the day, they had been offered four points from their games against the Ulster and Leinster champions “we would have taken it with both hands” he remarked.
Friday began with Kilkenny College at the top of the table having won both their opening games and so a win against them was vital. A 2-1 win was achieved through goals from Bella Murphy and Jenny Clein and with St Gerard’s College winning both of their games it meant that the title could be decided on goal difference. We entered the Salerno game knowing that a win by 3 clear goals would give us the title and full credit to Salerno as they fought hard and were determined to make us work for the victory. A 4-0 win was secured with goals from Aebfhinn Bourke (2), Bella Murphy and Ciara Leahy and the final whistle heralded an outpouring of emotions. We had tremendous support throughout the competition with parents and family members cheering on the girls. We also had students travelling by bus on both days and they were outstanding in their vocal support. They were also a number of past pupils present and many of them were former hockey players who themselves had come so close to capturing the All-Ireland title.
The means of victory was a real squad effort but particular mention has to be given to Michelle Barrett (Captain), Nicole Power and the outstanding Aisling Horan. Congratulations to our coaches – Sean O’Callaghan & Cathal Duggan, to our team manager Brian Collins on his organisation and a special word for S&C coach Liz Burke and physio Cynthia Murphy. A big thank you to Eileen O’Brien, Sinead Mulcahy and Joe, the bus driver for McElligotts. To all the parents who at great cost made it to Galway, thank you for your support and you can be immensely proud of your daughters. Thank you to everyone who turned out at the school on Friday night to greet the girls as they arrived back. We cannot finish without thanking all those who had a hand in this victory – the coaches who have been involved with the girls over the years – Ollie O’Connor, Brenda Moloney, Caroline O’Donnell, Jo Flinn, Mary Power and Geraldine O’Carroll (apologies if I have omitted anyone), and especially John Power who sent an email from China offering his congratulations. Report by John McDonnell, Sports Co-ordinator
Following on from their Munster schools hockey victory two weeks previously, history was made on Friday 27th March as Crescent College Comprehensive claimed their first All Ireland senior hockey victory at the Kate Russell schools competition in Galway. This was the third year in a row that the school represented Munster in the inter provincial competition, having claimed silver last year, they went one step further this year to claim the gold medals.
Coached by Sean O’Callaghan, this was the first time that a Limerick school won the competition, and only the sixth time for Munster in the 35 year history of the competition. Led by Captain Michelle Barrett, CCC got off to a flying start on Thursday 26th with a 6-2 win over Sullivan Upper from Ulster. Scores for CCC came from Aebhinn Bourke 4,Niamh O Keefe, and Ciara Leahy. In the afternoon, it was a close fought battle with eventual runners up, St Gerard’s of Bray representing Leinster which resulted in a 2 all draw. Scores for CCC came from Niamh O’Keeffe and Megan Mawhinney.
Friday the 27th saw CCC playing Kilkenny College representing the South East. This was another close affair with goals from Bella Murphy and Jenny Clein seeing CCC winning on a score of 2-1. The score in the next match between Sullivan Upper and St Gerard’s set the target for CCC in their last match against Salerno representing hosts Connaught – they would need to win by 3 goals to claim gold. In a very competitive final tournament match Salerno put up a strong challenge but were not able for a very composed CCC team who won on a score of 4-0. Scores came from Aoibhinn Bourke (2), Bella Murphy and Ciara Leahy.
As Michelle stepped up to accept the winners trophy, among scenes of great jubilation from the strong CCC following, she thanked Sean for his huge voluntary dedication over the years and also acknowledged her team mates, former coaches and the support of the school to the team.
The All Ireland Schoolgirls Championships are played on an annual basis. Winner from each provincial schools cup qualifies for the All Ireland’s (Players must be under the age of 19 at the start of the School Year (August 1st))
The Tournament is played on a round robin basis and under the IHA Rules and Regulations for tournaments.
Kate Russell was one of the most influential figures in the history of the Irish Ladies’ Hockey Union. Her utter dedcation to the game was of huge benefit to the union. Kate died in 1978 after 50 years of service to the game and upon her death hundreds of condolences poured into the offices of the ILHU, from all corners of the hockey playing world. Report by Maurice Barrett, Parent
Congrats from CCC Past Pupils Union
Ms Fleming recently received a lovely letter of congratulations to ‘the Senior Girls Hockey Team’ and ‘all associated with them’ from the Committee of the Past Pupils Union, who hailed the girls ‘magnificent achievement’ of which past pupils were ‘very proud’. Further evidence, if any was needed, of the strong tradition of hockey at Crescent!