On Wednesday our under 16 and under 19 boys basketball teams made history by reaching the National cup finals. The under 16s took to the court at University of Limerick against Presentation De La Salle of Carlow. Nerves seemed to be a factor in the first quarter as our boys couldn’t seem to get their offense running and also conceded a lot of fouls. However scores from Jack Phillips and Charlie Curran kept them in the game when it looked like Presentation were going to run away with it. After the 2nd quarter the Bantry boys were down by 12 points. At half time the boys decided on a goal of getting the deficit down to single digits by the end of quarter three. In the second half Jack Phillips really got his scoring game going. Cathal McCarthy, Paddy Russell and James Murphy really got to grips with defence and took a lot of rebounds. Charlie Curran at point guard started to find Jack Phillips more and Jack hit a very important three point shot to put the Bantry boys within 5 points of their opponents going into the last quarter. In the final quarter the Bantry offense was fantastic. James Keane scored a lay-up, followed by a three point shot Which put Bantry one point ahead with 14 seconds on the clock. The last Presentation offense was stalled by a fantastic Bantry defence. That was enough to see the Bantry boys to the buzzer and scenes of celebration. Well done to everyone who played apart in a absolutely enthralling contest.
The under 19 draw for the semifinals also saw Coláiste Pobail taking to the court against Presentation De la Salle. This was a very high quality game. Again nerves seemed to be a factor at the start and our players took some early fouls. Scores from Eoghan O’Donohoe and Charlie Curran kept the boys within a basket of Presentation after the first quarter. However, early fouls forced the Coláiste boys into sitting key players on the bench for the second quarter in order to keep them for the stretch. The second quarter was very tight. Some great scores from Jack Phillips, Ethan Hanley and again from the fantastic Eoghan O’ Donoghue saw the Bantry team trail by two at half time. It was decided half-time to change around defensive tactics to try to put a stop to 2 dominant presentation players. Ethan Hanley who was MVP for the day and Inspirational Captain Mark O’Sullivan were immense and defence. Shane Murnane made a few key interventions on defense also while Guido Toniola and Eoghan O’ Donoghue bossed the boards. Cian Keohane hit a very important three point shot followed by two from Ethan Hanley which eventually put CPB in the lead. Mark O’Sullivan kept getting to the basket and getting fouled and was 100% from the free throw line. Ronan O’Sullivan had a huge three to stretch the lead going in to the last two minutes however a fantastic comeback by presentation got them within 3 points. However time was Bantry’s friend and Presentation didn’t get a chance to score again. When the buzzer went it was 54-51 to the Bantry team. Thanks to the supporters who travelled and the past pupils who left lectures at UL to support their old school.
The two All-Ireland finals are provisionally scheduled for January 19th. The Under 16’s will Play CMM Galway and the Under 19’s will play Moyle Park of Dublin.
Thanks to Katie Russell for the fantastic photos.