Rainey Endowed booked their place in the Ulster Senior Schools Cup final for the first time in 37 years with a nerve jangling 4-2 penalty shoot out win over Ballymena Academy.
The game went to penalties after the teams fought out a 3-3 draw after extra time at Lisnagarvey yesterday.
Ballymena looked to be dead and buried when they trailed 3-2 with fewer than two minutes of normal time left only for Emma Kernohan to complete her hat-trick with a brilliant penalty corner strike and force extra time.
“We had practised penalties after every training session at the Meadowbank Arena in Magherafelt and I told the girls to imagine they were there before the shoot-out and it worked a treat,” said Rainey coach Carolyn Burns.
Kernohan had given Ballymena the lead in the sixth minute with a fabulous strike on the reverse from the edge of the circle. But six minutes later Tori Hastings fired home a set piece with the aid of a deflection for the equaliser.
She made it 2-1 after playing a one-two with Robyn Chambers seven minutes after the break but, once again, Ballymena fought back, Kernohan levelling from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute.
Chambers drove home her side’s 10th corner with seven minutes left but then came that dramatic late equaliser and Ballymena dominated extra time without being able to find a winner.
Ballymena Academy: Rebekah Jones; Rhianna Campbell, Gillian Weir (c), Jenny Sutherland, Zoe dickson, Jessica Duncan, Lauren Kennedy, Leah Paul, Joanna Bailie, Annaleise Horscroft, Emma Kernohan. Subs: Judith Laughlin, Suzannah Browne, Holly Taggart, Laura Galloway, Jade Lamont.
Rainey Endowed: Rebecca Allen: Vlaire Mulholland (c), Niamh Scullion, Tori Hastings, Zara Bell, Cara Sloan, Nicole Heaney, Robyn Chambers, Nicola Sargent, Rachel Burns, Kirsty McLarnon. Subs: Alice Hardy, Sarah Caldwell, Aimee Stockman, Lauren Mulholland, Laura Bolton, Emma McClure, Erin Mulholland.
Umpires: Randal Kernaghan, Stuart Wallace.