St Malachy’s College Belfast has done it again, led by coaches Adrian Fulton and Phil Molloy, winning both the U16A & U18A Cup in Dublin’s National Basketball Arena. The Belfast side showed great resilence throughout the game and Coach Fulton is excited for what the future holds for his U18 boys.
Adrian took a moment to speak with TCC on Friday night before another appearance as an expert commentator on Setanta Sports live coverage of the Men’s National Cup Finals.
Quinn Twins help guide Belfast School to U19A glory
St Malachy´s 70(40) (C Quinn 15,A Quinn 13,O Kerlin 11)
Templeogue 61(25) (A McDonnell 15,B Morrision 11,C McKeon 7)
MVP Conor Quinn
St Malachy´s of Belfast clinched the U-19 All Ireland Boys title after a hugely entertaining tussle with Templogue of Dublin.Having trailed at one point by twenty points, Templogue fought back in the second half and almost upset the odds.Ultimately though, their first half performance left them with too much to do, and Malachy´s were deserved 70-61 winners of a hugely impressive encounter.
Some terrific shooting from St Malachy´s in the first quarter saw them race into a 17-8 lead.Aidan Quinn and Oisin Kerlin were the sparks behind the Malachy´s onslaught.Quinn was in devastating form from outside, helping Malachy´s to a ten point lead with three minutes remaining.20-10.Templeogue were struggling to contend with the physicality of Malachy´s inside, and with Quinn a danger from outside, the Dublin team were somewhat at sea.
Malachy´s were looking to build on a 24-12 lead at the beginning of the second quarter, and Liam Pettigrew duly obliged with a powerful lay-up.Templogue just could not find their range and with the Malachy´s offence in such devastating form, it was difficult to see a way back into the game for Phillip Rigney´s side.Kerlin and Pettigrew were just too powerful for Templogue, who looked to be in real trouble, trailing at half time.40-25.
Templeogue found a renewed sense of purpose at the begining of the third, and cut the deficit down to 12 thanks to some excellent wok from captain Anton McDonnell.They were a completely differnet proposition now, Baolach Morrisson´s steal and subsequent lay-up bringing his side to within seven.The huge Templeogue support finally had something to shout about,and sensing that an impossible comeback might be in the offing,the atmosphere in the arena reached fever pitch.Templogue,inspired by Sean Flood, were amazingly just one behind heading into the final quarter.54-53.
Malachy´s composed themselves at the beginning of the final quarter, Quinn brothers Conor and Aidan again proving instrumental as the Belfast side took a seven point lead with just over three minutes remaining. Templeogue had been superb in getting back into the game, but were unable to continue their momentum, Malachy´s eventually closing the game out for a 70-61 victory.
Odhran Eastwood Leads St Malachy’s to U16A Cup
St Malachy´s 50 (26) (O Eastwood 11, S Quinn 9, A Ryan 9)
Ard Scoil Rathangan 45 (23) (J Byrne 19, C Maher 11, S Maughan 6)
MVP James Byrne (Rathangan)
Paul Morrison got St Malachy´s off the mark with a straightforward lay-up from underneath the basket. Rathangan brought a sizeable crowd along for the occasion but struggled to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges, allowing their opponents into a 6-3. St Malachy´s managed to fashion a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Rathangan took the lead early in the second thanks to some fine work from James Byrne. Shane Maughan increased the lead to three from the line.Byrne was beginning to exert control over proceedings, and extended the Rathangan lead. Rathangan´s support were treated to a terrific second quarter display.21-14.Sean Quinn hit a three pointer which suddenly sparked a Malachy´s fightback.In a blistering minute of play, Quinn hit nine points while teammate Odhran Eastwood pitched in with four as Malachy´s wiped out the Rathangan lead.It was a scorching response from the Belfast side, who took an unlikely 26-23 lead into the half time interval.
The quality on display in this final was superb, and the third quarter was a high-octane affair which saw Malachy´s hold a six point lead with three minutes remaining. Rathangan were right in contention however,and Conor Jamieson reduced the deficit to three with a superb shot from outside.Ciaran Maher refused to be denied moments later, doggedly retrieving an errant shot and piercing the Malachy´s defense to make it a one point game.
Malachy´s managed to fashion a four point lead heading into the final quarter.Ciaran Maher was having a dynamic impact under the boards for Rathangan and kept his side in touch.James Byrne had the Kildare outfit within a point with four minutes on the clock.Malachy´s just managed to cling on in the end, after a final that was the highlight of the week at the National Basketball Arena. Final score 50-45