St Josephs College (Galway ) 28
Ard Scoil Ris (Dublin ) 18
Galway’s St Joseph’s College comfortably defeated Ard Scoil Ris by 28-18 to win the Basketball Ireland Schools 2nd Year A national title.
The victory came in the same week the Bish claimed the School of the Year award at the 2012 Basketball Ireland Annual Awards.
The Bish defeated St Fintan’s College (Sutton ) in the semi-final to set up a much-anticipated final with the East Region and Dublin champions, having earlier in the competition defeated Presentation College (Bray ), Mercy Mounthawk (Tralee ) and Calasanctius College (Oranmore ).
From the outset in this national final Ard Scoil Ris struggled with the Bish’s aggressive defence as the Galway school took an early lead of 10 points with some outside shooting from the impressive John Hackett, some powerful inside post moves resulting in baskets from both Josh Marvesley and Ben Brennan, and great control and shooting by the Bish point guard Ruairi Heffernan. Conor Egan, who scored the first basket off a fast break, continued to impress through the half.
Ard Scoil Ris found it difficult to get into the game despite the presence of a large appreciative crowd and some excellent moves and free throws from Marcus Black, their star forward.
The second quarter saw the introduction of the Bish captain and Irish international Kyle Cunningham and he played an MVP role by controlling the point and picking off scores - both inside and outside the key - from defensive mistakes. Bish co-captain Dara O’Sullivan dominated the offensive post-position, while Jack Costello took control of the defensive boards. The young and talented Ciaran Blaney and Conor Curran played their part in containing Ard Scoil’s Marcus Black and Gavin O’Dea, who were increasingly becoming a scoring threat.
When the Bish contained the anticipated full court press of St Fintan’s at the beginning of the second half, it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was going to be difficult for Ard Scoil to reel in the Bish’s substantial lead. Ruairi Heffernan controlled the point guard position and set up effective offensives that allowed his guards to score mid range shots. The speed and passing ability of Ben Brennan was also a feature of the Bish play as St Fintan’s struggled to deal with the Bish transition.
In the final quarter the Ard Scoil Ris pressure began to pay dividends, but the Bish regained their composure to secure a memorable first All Ireland title for this team, and a second title for the Bish this year. It was also the third year this particular national title was won by the Bish and the sixth national A title St Joseph’s College have won in the past three years.