Last week, there were four teams from Northern Ireland represented in the All-Ireland schools league finals; St Columb’s U19B boys (L-Derry), Abbey Grammar U19C boys (Newry), St Malachy’s College U16A boys (Belfast), Abbey Grammar U16C boys (Newry), and Aquinas Grammar U16C girls (Belfast). Below is a full list of reports and photographs from the games, which took place in the National Basketball Arena, Dublin.
St. Paul’s Raheny lifted the Under 19 B Boys’ All Ireland Schools League final trophy after defeating St. Columbs, Derry on a final scoreline of 56 – 44.
St. Paul’s’ Paddy Sullivan was named the ‘MVP’ after contributing a tally of 21 points, while Jordan McClelland also put in a 21 point scoring performance for St. Columbs, Derry.
It was St. Columbs who started brightly with an opening basket from Nathan Brown which was quickly followed by team mate McClelland who netted 11 points solely in the first quarter. St. Paul’s quickly regrouped with power plays from Greg Campion and Paddy Sullivan as the Raheny team took a four point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Adam Wilson helped St. Columbs respond in the early stages of the second quarter but St. Paul’s’ Alex Talpau returned with another two points, who eventually ended up with 15 points. The momentum was with Pauls, who increased their lead to six points with Campion and Talpau to the fore. (26-32)
St Columbs desperately tried to claw back the deficit but Pauls continued to dominate and once they opened up a double digit lead there was no way back.
St.Columbs (Derry) 44 (26) (J McClelland 21, M Brennan 14, N Brown 2) St.Paul’s Raheny (Dublin) 56 (32) (P Sullivan 21, A Talpau 15, G Campion 12)
MVP; Paddy Sullivan (St. Paul’s Raheny)
St. Malachy’s lifted the Under 16 A Boys’ All Ireland Schools League final trophy after a nail biting victory over Douglas Community School with the final score at 55 – 54.
St. Malachy’s Odhran Eastwood was awarded the ‘MVP’ of the game after he produced an all-star performance and finished with an impressive 13 points.
However, it was Douglas Community School to put points on the scoreboard first in this exhilarating All Ireland Final as Liam Harris hit the opening shot for his side. With the tempo of the game intense from the jump, both teams were score for score in the first few minutes of play. Both sides looked to attack the basket and hit some easy scores to gain the lead but it was St Malachy’s that secured the advantage and the first quarter finished up 22-16 in their favour.
The level of basketball continued to improve throughout the game as the players executed their coaches orders. However, it was the impressive two man show from Douglas Community School’s Jack O’ Mahony and Gary Pineada that stood out. They kept their side in the game as they continuously worked by attacking the gaps in the key and converting their efforts to scores on the free throw line.
St. Malachy’s looked as thought they might pull away as Harris scored a coast to coast lay-up and Peter O’Donnell relentlessly continued to crash the boards but Douglas’ O’Mahony came straight off the bench to hit a bank shot to keep them in the game and silence any doubt in his teammates minds.
With the crowd on the edge of their seats, both teams played with their foot on the gas as this game came down to the very last second. Douglas’ O’Mahony narrowly missed a long three point shot with two defenders on him to win the game and St. Malachy’s were crowded victorious.
The score finished 55-54.
St. Malachy’s (Belfast) 55 (35) (P Sloan 15, A Ryan & O Eastwood 13, J Largey 12) Douglas Community School 54 (32) (Cork) (J O’Mahony 17, G Pineada 16, L Harris)
MVP; Odhran Eastwood (St. Malachy’s)
Abbey Grammar School lifted the Under 16 C Boys’ All Ireland Schools League final trophy after an impressive win over CBS High School with a final score of 55 – 37.
Aaron Miller of Abbey Grammar School was awarded the ‘MVP’ award after an all-round powerful performance and contributing a tally of 16 points for his side.
It was Abbey Grammar School to open up the game and set the high tempo for this exciting All Ireland League final. Their intensity continued throughout the first quarter with coast to coast scores from Aaron Miller and impressive two man play between Miller and teammate Ross O’Hanlon. With High School’s outside shots struggling to find the bottom of the net, their captain Aaron Fennell continued to attack the basket and the quarter ended 23 – 7 to Abbey Grammar School.
The second quarter saw High School’s Fennell run in two consecutive lay-ups with teammate Brian Healy stepping in to score some vital points to try and pull their team back from the big deficit they created in the first quarter. However, Abbey Grammar School’s Aaron O’Reilly, who finished with 21 points to his name, responded with an all-star performance pushing the ball up the floor to put his team ahead, 33 – 17.
High School opened the second half with great pose as Fennell and Healy continued to chip away securing essential points to keep them in the game. Their intensity was carried through by Shane Mullen crashing the boards on both ends of the floor and converting his attempts to scores. Both teams encountered unfortunate turnovers in this quarter from the pressure of aggressive defense but it was Abbey Grammar School that began to break away as the quarter finished 48 – 30 in their favour.
The final quarter saw both schools continue to play until the very last second but it was a little too late for High School as Peter O’Hagan hit an impressive reverse hook shot to send his team to the winners podium. Abbey Grammar School continued to pull away and the game finished with a scoreline of 55 – 37.
Abbey Grammar School (Newry) 55 (33) (Aaron O’Reilly 21, Aaron Miller 16, Peter O’Hagan 12) CBS High School (Clonmel) 37 (17) (Aaron Fennell 21, Brian Healy 13, Shane Mullen 13)
MVP; Aaron Miller (Abbey Grammar School)
An inspiring all round performance from Clonaslee College saw the Laois team crowned All Ireland U16 C Girls Schools League Champions after their triumphant win over Aquinas Grammar School, 47-21.
Clonaslee’s Laura Hogan, received the ‘MVP’ award finishing with a total of 19 points. Hogan, who was the focal point for Clonaslee’s success, played the game from start to finish in a determined manner in order to bring the title back to her school.
With both teams arriving armed with a mass of supporters, the atmosphere alone set the pace for this eventful All Ireland Final. However, it was Clonaslee College that came off the bench all guns blazing as Hogan hit the opening shot. Aquinas Grammar School soon responded with Roisin Murray hitting both free throws that she was awarded. Unfortunately, these were the only points her side netted in the first quarter as the scoreline finished 8-2 to Clonaslee.
As the game progressed Hogan rose to the challenge and scored a powerful 9 points in the second quarter. Teammate Heather Conroy also chipped in as she continued to attack the gaps in the key to help increase their lead further and end the half 25 – 8 ahead.
Coming into the second half Aquinas were not about to roll over and give up, with big scores from Aislinn McFarland and a huge three pointer from Laoise Carey, Clonaslee began to feel the pressure of maintaining their lead. The Belfast side increased their defensive pressure and although they challenged every shot and drove on each loose ball they failed to execute on the boards as Clonaslee picked up vital offensive rebounds which saw them convert them into key baskets.
Clonaslee’s Conroy continued to push the ball up the floor and not only did she hit some magnificent shots but she also fed her teammates with smooth full court passes to seal the deal and bring the title home to Laois.
The final score was 47 – 21.
Aquinas Grammar School (Belfast) 21 (8) (Roisin Murray & Aislinn McFarland 6, Laoise Carey 3) Clonaslee College (Laois) 47 (24) (Laura Hogan 19, Meaghan Dunne 19, Heather Conroy 9)
MVP; Laura Hogan (Clonaslee College)
Colaiste Chriost Ri were crowned under 19 C Boys’ All Ireland Schools League Champions after a thrilling win over Abbey Grammar School with the final score at 51 – 48.
It was Kevin Garcia of Colaiste Chriost Ri that was awarded the respected ‘MVP’ award after a stellar all-star performance and a contribution of a powerful 20 points.
In a game that started in the stands, each school battled against one another through chants and cheers thus setting the most exciting and energetic crowd the Arena has seen all week. It was Abbey Grammar School who had been crowned U16 C champions earlier that morning to open up the score board in this hard fought final with a quick lay-up from their captain Conor Campbell. Colaiste Chriost Ri were quick to respond as Kevin Garcia stepped in to knock down two big shots for his Cork side. Although the energy was electric on the floor and in the crowd both teams struggled to find their momentum and the quarter finished with a low score of 6 – 4 to Abbey Grammar School.
As the game progressed both teams stepped their game up another gear as the second quarter was score for score. Colaiste Chriost Ri’s Anothony O’Sullivan began this quarter with not one but three consecutive scores to keep the hope of victory alive for his team. Terry Guo from Abbey Grammar School matched O’Sullivan’s pace and put some vital scores on the board for his school, finishing the half 18 – 16 in Abbey Grammar School’s favour.
Colaiste Chriost Ri started the second half with power and conviction as Garcia nailed a huge three pointer sending the Cork crowd into an ecstatic frenzy. Abbey Grammar School were quick to respond with an almost identical three pointer from Aaron Miller. However, it was at this point that Colaiste Chriost Ri noticed a gap and began to pull away from the Newry side. O’Sullivan and teammate Kyle Malone attacked the basket and their relentless efforts were duly rewarded. Garcia also continued his all-star performance and knocked down another two three pointers to push his team into the lead.
Abbey Grammar School entered the final quarter 12 points down, but with everything to play for and nothing to lose they grabbed each opportunity they were presented with and began to claw their way back into the game. Niall McArdle began the turn around for the Newry side as he glided by the defence making it more difficult for Colasite Chriost Ri to maintain their lead. The increased energy was evident on the Newry bench as the team and crowd chanted the side back into the game. Miller continued to impressed and hit a big three pointer to mount the pressure even more on Colaiste Chriost Ri’s defensive game.
This game came down to the final minute and with 45 seconds to go Abbey Grammar School had managed to come back into the game with only one point down. Unfortunately they sent Colaiste Chriost Ri to the free throw line but luckily for them these attempts were not converted into scores. The defensive pressure continued and Abbey Grammar School achieved a 5 second violation to gain possession of the ball but Colaiste Chriost Ri’s O’Sullivan attacked the basket and was sent to the free throw line once again. For the first time in this game both crowds were silent, O’Sullivan made his free throws but Abbey Grammar School’s Miller responded with another three pointer. Just when the game could go either way Abbey Grammar School fouled on two more occasions and both O’Sullivan and Greg Prochel made their free throws to win the game by 3 points.
The final score was 51 – 48
Abbey Grammar School (Newry) 48 (18) (Aaron Miller 16, Niall McArdle 13, Terry Guo 8) Colaiste Chriost Ri (Cork) 51 (16) (Kevin Garcia 20, Anthony O’Sullivan 15, Greg Prochal 8)
MVP; Kevin Garcia (Colaiste Chriost Ri)
Source: Basketball Ireland (www.basketballireland.ie)