At the presentation of the Nenagh Guardian Sports Award to St Mary's Secondary School Newport were, from left: Emma Coleman, Grace O'Toole (captain), Stephen Goggin (Manager) and Nenagh Guardian Sports Editor Shane Brophy. Photo: Bridget Delaney

St Mary's Secondary School Newport Senior Girls soccer team - 2020 NENAGH GUARDIAN SPORTS AWARD WINNER

St Mary’s Secondary School Newport won the Munster Senior ‘A’ Girls Soccer title for the first time in January 2020.

Newport reached the final off the back of two convincing wins, overcoming Coláiste Mhuire from Ennis 4-2 in the quarter-final before accounting for Coláiste na Trócaire Rathkeale 4-1 at the semi-final stage.

In the Munster Final, second half strikes from captain Grace O’Toole and Emma Coleman proved decisive in a 2-0 win over Presentation Secondary School Thurles in Tipperary Town.

However, there was heartbreak in the All-Ireland semi-final when a late goal saw them defeated 2-1 by Claregalway College from Galway.

However, the provincial success was a huge achievement according to manager and teacher Stephen Goggin.

“It was huge for the school, in particular for the group of players as it was our first year entering a senior team, just to prove to themselves that they were good enough” he said.

For captain Grace O’Toole it was just reward for challenging themselves to compete at that level. “We were in the school for six years and we never had a soccer team and thanks to Mr Goggin he put it together,” she said.

“The younger girls were brilliant; they had won loads of matches up along so when we got to sixth year, we said we would give it a go and we got on a winning run and suddenly were in the final and delighted to have won it against a Thurles team that had some really good players that had played for Ireland.”

For the other Munster final goal-scorer Emma Coleman, it was important for girls’ sport within the school to be successful at a high level.

“It was lovely for the girls as there was always boy’s teams doing well so it was lovely for us to come out with something at the end, especially just before lockdown,” she said.

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