Saturday 16 December 2017

Shels FAI women's cup final star returned to school for exams one day after sensational hat-trick

Leanne Kiernan pictured at her home in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Leanne Kiernan pictured at her home in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

She scored a hat trick in the FAI women’s final but it was business as usual for Leanne Kiernan, as she returned to school for exams just a day later.

The teen (17) was part of the Shelbourne FC team who secured a 5-0 victory over Wexford Youths in the FAI women’s final on Saturday.

Leanne, from Co Cavan has been part of the senior team since just January but wasted no time making her mark.

Her impressive display in  the Aviva Stadium has wowed fans of the beautiful game but it wasn’t enough for a free pass to miss school.

“I had three pre-mock exams in school... let’s just say I didn’t get much done last week,” she said.

Returning to her school Baileborough Community School on Monday though, there was something a little bit out of the ordinary to mark the occasion.

“I was walking down the corridors in school and all of the teachers were coming up, hugging me. I was thinking ‘why are you hugging me?’,” she said.

With her Leaving Cert looming next May Leanne, who also plays for Ireland, has a lot to juggle, as she travels to Dublin three times a week for training and at weekends for matches.

“I’ll see how far the football brings me but I’ll need another option,” she said.

With plans to follow in her family’s footsteps and study agicultural science in college Leanne has her sights set on farming if she doesn’t turn pro.

But with Raheny native Katie McCabe getting signed recently for Arsenal and Stephanie Roache there are plenty of role models for Leanne to look up to.

She said she hopes she can also be a role model for younger girls who want to

“You can really get noticed there, They’re really good at coaching and they really drive you on,” she said of Shelbourne

“If I got offered to go to England I’d go... but I have to get offered it I suppose,” she said.

It seems her stellar performance has yet to sink in with the young soccer star.

“I was shocked I scored three to be honest... but only for the girls getting the ball into me and giving me good balls, I wouldn’t really get to far without them,” the modest teen told the Herald.

The talented teen has been playing football since she was young but until she was a teen she played with the boys teams locally and was signed to an Ulster team at the behest of her then German teacher, who drove her to Donegal once a week for training.

“Most of the girls on the team have been the same since u15 levels, so we are all really good friends.

“We have been in nine countries in the last year...it’s good craic but it is about the football so you don’t get to see much,” she said.

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