Ciaran Daly and Charlie Dunny combined for a total of 41 points as Kildare Town CS brought the curtain down on the 2023-24 All-Ireland Schools Cup Finals week in the National Basketball Arena with a 61-41 point triumph over a gallant Terenure College in the Boys Under 16C decider on Wednesday evening.
Kildare co-captain, Daly and game MVP, Dunny did not take long to put their stamp on this decider, the latter propelling his side out of the blocks with a big three on his way to an 18-point haul, while Daly put up eight in the opening quarter en route to a game-high 23 points.
Jude Gavin and Harry Walsh served up buckets from the floor while Lochlann Geraghty got some return from the free-throw line to keep the engine ticking over for Terenure as they trailed by nine heading into the second quarter.
Kildare’s Daly had signed off on the first period with a three-pointer and he opened up the second with a deuce, which together with a Cillian Ajimokun basket, pushed their side’s lead out to 13.
Ife Ojo also got in on the act before Dunny landed another from beyond the arc and then drained a pair of free throws to help keep Kildare Town in control.
The Dubliners were struggling to slow their opponents’ momentum, although they did gain some traction with three points apiece from Gavin and Geraghty in the second quarter.
Kildare, however, always seemed to have an answer as Daly and Ajimokun served up timely scores to undercut Terenure’s efforts to gain significant ground.
A big three by Walsh, along with further buckets from Gavin and Geraghty, did reduce their arrears to 11 by the close of the third quarter, sparking some hope that they might be able to still haul this tie out of the fire.
Another basket from Walsh early in the fourth fuelled that belief, only to see it again punctured when Dunny and Daly delivered down the lane in quick succession.
The former served up another big three before an Ojo bucket quickly followed after Alex Dunne had demonstrated great determination and awareness to prevent the ball running out of play and set up his team mate.
Dunne was rewarded for that assist with a score himself soon after as, all of a sudden, Kildare were 17 out on front and effectively home and hosed with Daly’s three and Ojo’s layup putting the icing on the cake for their side.
“The lads gelled together and played very well as a team against a fantastic Terenure side and we’re just so proud of them” said Kildare Town CS co-coach Brigid Lalor.
“It means an awful lot to win this title. It’s the first time that Kildare Town Community School has won an All-Ireland in any sport, so we’re just absolutely overwhelmed” she said.
Quarter Scores: Q1: 9-18, Q2: 17-33, Q3: 28-39, Q4: 41-61
Harry Walsh (Capt.), Jude Gavin, Lochlann Geraghty, Philip Lanigan, Lloyd Carroll, Jack Purcel, Michael Keely, Paul McGuinness, Alex Aspel, Joseph Clohessy, Charlie Bolster, Matthew Lehane.
Head Coach: Thomas Healy
Top Scorers: Lochlann Geraghty (17), Jude Gavin (11), Harry Walsh (9).
Kildare Town CS:
David Cojacaru, Ife Ojo (Co-Capt), Liam Flynn, Cillian Ajimokun, Jamie Wall, Ciaran Daly (Co-Capt), Adrian Safian, Cillian Skelly, Alex Ebbs, Alex Dunne, Charlie Dunny, Fisolami Adeogun, Evidence Usenbor.
Head Coaches: Brigid Lalor & Deirdre Doyle
Top Scorers: Ciaran Daly (23), Charlie Dunny (18), Cillian Ajimokun (10)
MVP: Charlie Dunny (Kildare Town CS).