St Joseph’s, Galway, had 10 points to spare over St Malachy’s College, Belfast, to win yesterday's hotly-contested Subway Under 16 A Boys Schools All Ireland Cup final by 52-42.
Aaron Kiernan and James Connaire were a real force for the Bish at the National Basketball Arena yesterday, with Kiernan awarded MVP of the game,
Invaluable on both offence and defence, he bagged nine points in total, while also setting up his teammates for other vital scores to see them home to glory in the face of a comeback from St Malachy’s College.
The Bish had the best of the opening exchanges, with Connaire netting seven points in the quarter to drive the Bish into a 13-4 lead going into the second quarter. However St Malachy’s began to find their feet, and Cormac O’Rourke showed off his shooting talents to reduce the gap to just five at half time, 22-17.
The comeback was well and truly on by the third quarter and with six minutes to play, Conn Doherty bagged a well-taken jump shot to put just one between the sides,
Jack Summersgill landed a fantastic three-pointer to tie the game on 24 points apiece, but the Bish showed their grit. Instead of panicking in the face of such pressure, they calmly slowed the game down, with Dara McNulty adding a vital basket to push them ahead once more, 29-26.
With the game on a knife edge, the Galway school came out strongly once more in the fourth quarter and took their coach’s words on the sideline to heart as they worked every minute of the quarter to keep Malachy’s at bay. Again, Kiernan and Connaire were crucial, with McNulty tapping in some much-needed scores, and James Cummins and Iarlaith O'Sullivan also on hand to drive to the basket. Good displays from Cormac O’Rourke at the other end – to see him net 18 points overall for Malachy’s – were just not enough, and The Bish held firm to run out 10-point winners.
ST JOSEPH’S BISH (GALWAY ): Dara McNulty (4 ), Iarlaith O Sullivan (6 ), Stephen Barron, James Cummins (9 ), Gavin Powell, James Connaire (16 ), Thomas Toher, Matthew Sweeney, Aaron Kiernan (9 ), Brian Gaffney, James Wall, Ryan Hornet.