SLIDESHOW: Limerick trio help Republic of Ireland retain the John Read Trophy

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THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND retained the John Read Trophy following a dramatic penalty shoot-out against England in Salou this afternoon following a one all draw after full time and there were three Limerick stars to the fore. Jenna Slattery (Laurel Hill Coláiste), Áine Walsh (Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry) and Aoife Cronin (Scoil Pól, Kilfinane) were to the fore in Richard Berkeley's side.

Kilfinane’s Aoife Cronin put the Irish in front just before the interval with a smashing effort but this was cancelled out eight minutes into the restart when Elizabeth Way saw the ball past Robyn Murray.

The Irish were a different pedigree in the spot kicks department, guiding all five on target as Ellen Molloy (Presentation SS, Kilkenny), Jenny Slattery (Laurel Hill Coláiste), Orlagh Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College, Naas), Aoife Cronin (Scoil Pól, Kilfinane) and Jess Stapleton all converted in superb fashion.

Navan net-minder Robyn Murray was outstanding between the sticks, saving brilliantly to deny the English side the edge in a tense showdown.

Richard Berkeley was impressed with his team’s performance this afternoon, following a marked improvement to that against a physical Scottish outfit yesterday. England were technical equipped and the likes of Stapleton, Slattery and Molloy all outstanding for the Irish scholars. In fact, Jess Stapleton and Ellen Molloy have secured back-to-back John Read Trophy titles as they featured last season in Stafford with Molloy converting a brace to ensure a 3-0 victory.

This was the Republic of Ireland’s third consecutive win in the John Read Trophy which is usually played as a precursor for the Bob Docherty Cup preparations.

The English first won the Cup back in 2014 when Lorraine Counihan was in her debut season for the Republic of Ireland. Georgia Stanway was in the English side that afternoon that provided a comprehensive victory to the hosts in Maidstone. The Three Lions went onto win the next two encounters before the Republic got a foothold on proceedings, leaving the sides with three wins apiece now.

In the other group games on match day two of the Bob Docherty Cup, another stalemate was played out.  Northern Ireland came from two goals down against Scotland to equalise in a fantastic three minute period as the game ended 2-2. They then went on to win the resulting penalty shoot-out to secure a bonus point win similar to that of the Republic.

Wales secured two wins from two, following a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Gibraltar who are enjoying their first taste of International football at this level.

Another round of group games will now be played tomorrow morning with top of the table contenders named Champions. This is a slight change to the original format but one that all Nations have agreed on.

With this in mind, Wales will entertain Northern Ireland while England will face off against Scotland and Gibraltar will test themselves against the Republic of Ireland. 

Looking at recent displays, Wales are the team to beat in the competition with Northern Ireland and the Republic coming in close consideration.

This development tournament is an opportunity for these Nations to showcase the best talent in our schools system at the moment and there is no doubt that the girls will relish the opportunities afforded to them in Salou. The competition has been impressive thus far and the final outings will make for some interesting viewing with games set to kick off at 9.30am local time (8.30am Irish time).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND | Robyn MURRAY (St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Navan), Liadán CLYNCH (Bush Post Primary School, Dundalk), Jess STAPLETON(Palmerstown Community School), Maria REYNOLDS (Loreto Abbey, Dalkey), Jenna SLATTERY (Laurel Hill Coláiste), Alison LONG (St. Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross), Ellen MOLLOY Capt. (Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny), Eva MANGAN (Carrigaline Community School), Ellie LONG (Carndonagh Community School), Áine WALSH (Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry), Aoife CRONIN (Scoil Pól, Kilfinane)

SUBS USED | Emma DOHERTY (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana) for Long (HT), Orlagh FITZPATRICK (St. Mary’s College, Naas) for Walsh (HT), Rebecca McMAHON (St. MacDara’s Community College, Templeogue) for Mangan (51)

SUBS NOT USED | Amy MAHON (St. Joseph’s Community College, Charlestown), Aoibheann COSTELLO (Scoil Bhríde, Mercy Secondary School, Tuam), AmyCLIFFORD (Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny), Freya De MANGE (Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny)

MANAGEMENT | Head Coach Richard Berkeley (Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh) Coach Karen Byrne (St. Michael’s Special School, Skerries), Coach Emma Mullin GK Coach Scott Gaynor (Presentation SS, Wexford), Kit Person Karen Henry (Mulroy College, Milford), Physio Aoife Burke