Athlone Community College recently won the FAI Schools Senior Girls Leinster Cup - and now they are a preparing for their national semi-final tomorrow (Thursday).
ACC defeated Presentation SS, Kilkenny 2-1 in Portlaoise in the Leinster final last week and they will take on another Presentation SS in the national semi-finals, this time from Thurles. The game will be played in Portlaoise Leisure Centre (3G pitch), note the change in venue, on Thursday at 1.30pm.
In the Leinster Cup final, the teams were level 0-0 at half-time. The Athlone side took the lead early in the second half through Ireland underage international Kayleigh Shine. The Kilkenny outfit equalised with a spectacular volley.
The winning goal came from ACC winger Allie Heatherington with what ACC coach Bojan Pap described as a "sublime finish".
Looking back on the Leinster final, Bojan Pap said: "It was a tough start for our team. We found it difficult to get into the game. I knew that their best player (their No. 10) would cause us problems so I changed the formation to a 4-1-4-1. Although it stopped their number 10 from pulling the strings, we weren't creating chances of our own."
In the second half, ACC changed to a 4-4-2 formation and Bojan said that giving Aisling Walsh a marking job on the Kilkenny side's No. 10 proved key to the outcome. "We controlled the game for the remainder of the second half. We had three great chances created through a long ball over the top to our winger, Allie Heatherington. Allie narrowly missed the first two but managed to tuck away the third chance with a sublime finish," said Bojan, who is assisted with coaching duties by Shauna Connell.
Athlone CC (Leinster Cup final squad): Cianna Meehan, Robyn Heatherington, Megan Kelly, Breena Breheny, Laoise O'Brien, Angelina De Rosa, Aisling Walsh, Róise Lennon, Aimee O'Connor, Allie Heatherington, Kayleigh Shine, Stephanie O'Neill, Ellie Hewitt, Juliette McGrane, Grace Hannon, Danielle Greasley.
FAI Schools Senior Girls National Cup semi-final
Thursday, January 31
Birr Town FC (1pm) Athlone Community College v Presentation SS, Thurles.
*Considering the icy weather conditions this week, supporters are advised to check if the game is still going ahead before making the trip to Portlaoise.