Feb 19 2024

St. Clare’s weather massive test from Coláiste Ráithín to lift All-Ireland Under 19C Boys Schools League prize

The opening day of All-Ireland Schools League Finals on Monday was completed with an electrifying Under 19C Boys decider in which St. Clare’s Ballyjamesduff weathered a massive test from Coláiste Ráithín to win out 69-63 in the National Basketball Arena.

It was St. Clare’s who made the early running in this game, as Robbie Huian converted two free-throws before captain, Oskar Retkowski drained two efforts from outside the arc to put them 8-0 up.

Ramon Reis and Luca Duggan then swapped three-pointers either end of the court before the latter served up five more points late in the quarter to reduce Coláiste Ráithín’s arrears to four heading into the second quarter.

Dominykas Kersys led the way for St. Clare’s over the next eight minutes as he put up 11 points to help the Ballyjamesduff outfit push their lead out to ten points by the half.

Sean Rowe, who emerged the game’s top scorer on 26 points, was, however, just as effective for Coláiste Ráithín over the same period - his 11-point contribution crucial in keeping his side in touch.

The Bray outfit hit the ground running upon their return to the court, battling their way back for a one-point lead as Rowe and Finn Buck both sank a brace from the line, and Simir Quinn and Duggan converted from either side of the arc.

But just as they appeared to be on the verge of buckling, St. Clare’s steadied the ship as Yannick Saray and Ramon Reis scored and Huian made a free throw to put them back in front by seven heading into the final quarter.

It meant Coláiste Ráithín had to piece together another run if they were to get their hands on the prize, but it remained tit-for-tat over the initial four minutes of the final quarter.

Rowe did produce a superb basket before going to the line for two more, after which Duggan landed another three to leave just a point between the sides.

St. Clare’s responded through Reis and Huian to push their lead back out to five with a minute and a half remaining.

And, while Samir Quinn did serve up a sublime score from the perimeter for Coláiste Ráithín, it was St. Clare’s who finished the stronger, Reis nailing two baskets to see his side over the line.

“We’re absolutely delighted” said St. Clare’s head coach Deirdre O’Brien after the final buzzer.

“The lads really showed a resolve and a belief in themselves and that’s what it’s all about. It’s beyond the sport and right down into the core of themselves.

“Even the support that we had here today, I said that they were our sixth player. They had skin in the game and they weren’t just here for a day out. They were there, living and breathing the game. It’s really is a community effort” she insisted.

Quarter Scores: Q1: 13-17, Q2: 29-39, Q3: 44-51, Q4: 63-69

Coláiste Ráithín:

Jamie Quinn, Luca Duggan (Co-Capt), Joe Megannety, Cian Huilín, Matthias Clark, Finn Buck, Samir Quinn, Feidhlim O’Toole, Reuben Dehanschutter, Sean Rowe (Co-Capt).

Head Coach:  Shauna Boyle

Top Scorers: Sean Rowe (26), Luca Duggan (20), Samir Quinn (8)

St. Clare’s:

Emmanuel Ajetunmobi, Ramon Reis, Luiz Lemos Da Silva, Nathan Nshimiye, Yannick Saray, Theo Mase, Robbie Huian, Dominykas Kersys, Oskar Retkowski (Co-Capt), Eimantas Sirmulis, Ray Zelvys, Adedeji Elegebe.

Head Coach: Deirdre O’Brien

Top Scorers: Dominykas Kersys (20), Robbie Huian (16), Oskar Retkowski (16)

MVP:  Dominykas Kersys (St. Clare’s)