The U14 basketball team were crowned All Ireland Schools Champions in the National Basketball Arena in Dublin on Tuesday. Hard fought victories over St.Joseph's Galway in the semi final (33-27) and North Monastery Cork in the final (48-38) were just reward for a lot of hard work and dedication throughout the season.
The semi final was nip and tuck most of the way with the College not getting into overdrive until the last quarter. Ryan Scott did a tremendous job on the boards and Liam Brady worked tirelessly at the defensive end but baskets were hard to come by for both squads. Conor Ryan helped to turn the game with excellent defensive work in the last quarter. Cormac O'Rourke capitalised with some brilliant steals and drives to the basket. Cormac made some crucial free throws under pressure and the boys ran out winners on a score line of 33-27.
Spring forward a few hours and the boys were back in the National Arena for a repeat of last years final against North Monastery from Cork. Conor Cooke started out very aggressively at the offensive end and was rewarded with all 13 points in the quarter, and Liam Brady defended brilliantly. A super pick and roll play by Niall Hurson helped St.Malachy's open out to a 13-6 point lead. North Monastery came roaring back to cut the deficit to 2 at half time. While we were always leading in the second half, it never quite felt like enough and were always under threat from North Mon players Kevin Moynihan and Dave Lehane. However, with defensive glove Matthew Mulholland containing the North Mon stars, Jack Summersgill and Cormac O'Rourke hit a couple of important scores with great drives to the basket to keep St.Malachy's just in front. The game changed when CJ Fulton hit three three point shots in quick succession in the last four minutes and completely rattled the men from Cork. Conor Ryan and Mattie Mulholland rounded off the scoring with nice jump shots and sent the boys wild with delight! CJ Fulton was named the game MVP.
This was a tremendous team effort by: Ronan O'Neill, Conor Ryan; Ryan Scott, Connor McWilliams, Conor Cooke, Ryan Gilfedder, Liam Brady; Jack Summersgill; Cormac O'Rourke; Matthew Mulholland; Niall Hurson; Emmet Corr; Conor Eastwood; CJ Fulton.