Ennistymon CBS made basketball history at the National Basketball Arena on Monday when they won the All-Ireland U-19C title for the first time in the school’s history. The North Clare school contested two finals on the day and were narrowly defeated in the U-16 decider.
Competing in the C finals, the U-19s were crowned champions when they had a 76 to 55 win over Mountrath Community School but the U-16s had to be content with the runner-up spot when they lost narrowly (40 to 36) to St Mary’s from Sligo.
In the U-19 game, Ennistymon built up a 10-point lead (37 to 27) by the mid-point of the game. The Laois school closed the gap to four midway through the second half but then the new champions stepped up a gear and pulled away for a merited victory, their first national success.
Teacher Margaret Molloy, with assistance from Stephen Leigh, coached the teams and they will be hoping to bring further honours to the North Clare school in the coming weeks as the U-19 side seek to complete the double by winning the league crown. They have qualified for the league semi-final and will shortly learn who will provide the opposition at this stage.
“This is marvellous for all involved. The players have put in a tremendous effort over the past two months and they were rewarded on Monday,” said Stephen Leigh this week. The squads train regularly at Ennistymon Community Centre.
With a contribution of 23 points, Ciarán Devitt, recently named in the Ireland U-18 squad, won the most valuable player award. Ronan Linnane, with 15 points, and Seán Devitt, with eight, were amongst the scorers for the winners.
After the game and amid great scenes of celebration, Seán Devitt accepted the trophy on behalf of the winning team.
Ennistymon CBS: Michael Leigh, Michael Healy, Tommy Kinch, Darragh Slattery, Richard Leigh, Ryan O’Halloran, Ronan Linane, Aidan Malone, Brian Leigh, Shane Egan, Seán Devitt and Ciarán Devitt.
Mountrath: Johnny Breslin, Darragh Duggan, Denis Curran, David Holland, Ross McDonagh, Joe Bennett, Eoghan Lalor, Cian Kavanagh, James Cripps, Eamon Duff, Niall Hoare and John Hearn.
The U-16 final was a very close affair, with just one point separating the teams in each quarter. With six points from Michael Leigh in the third quarter, the team’s top scorer on the day with 19 points, it was all to play for as the sides headed into the final period.
Try as they did, however, Ennistymon could not get their noses in front and the Sligo school held on for a narrow win.
Ennistymon U-16s: Ian Cuddihy, Michael Leigh, Dean Fitzgerald, Ryan Doyle, Michael McInerney, Kevin Falvey, Eoin Davies, Brian Davies, Matthew Kinch, Jack Hayes, Jamesie McConigley, Liam Slattery and Martin Rynne.
St Mary’s, Sligo: Paul Scanlon, Colin Browne, Colm Parke, Gary Cadden, Patrick McGloin, Jamie Doorer, Karvlis Gunka, Peter Murray, Joseph McGowan, Oliver Brockman, Eoin O’Neill, Aaron Scanlon and Tommy Jackson.