Feb 20 2024

Mungret CC battle back to edge out Calasanctius Oranmore and complete National Under 16A Girls double

Mungret Community College fought back from 12 points down in the third quarter to edge out Calasanctius Oranmore 43-39 and lift this season’s All-Ireland Under 16A Girls Schools League title in the National Basketball Arena on Tuesday.

Having landed the Under 16A Cup last month, the Limerick side were looking to make it a double on the national stage.

And they set about that endeavour in positive fashion, with Anna Nealon and game MVP and top-scorer, Abbey Nealon combining for 11 points as Mungret opened up a 12-9 lead by the close of the first quarter.

Calasanctius co-captain, Laoise McDonagh put up five in the same period, which, together with buckets from Lábhaoise Keane and Kate Butler, kept their team well in it.

And the Oranmore side continued on to overtake into a one-point lead early in the second quarter compliments of McDonagh and her two quick baskets.

But that advantage was short-lived as Méabh Purtill and Abbey Nealon struck from inside before the latter also drained two free throws to push Mungret back into a six-point lead.

Calasanctius, however, were not about to lose sight of their opponents, and two big efforts from beyond the arc by Cara Cormican, together with another McDonagh bucket, closed the gap to a solitary point by the half-time break.

Increasing their speed in transition, Calasanctius made a blistering start to the third quarter putting together a seven-point run before Laura Gocek responded for Mungret.

But that served only to apply the brakes temporarily as further scores from McDonagh and Laura Colleran propelled Calasanctius 12 points clear.

Mungret did mount a partial recovery over the closing minute of that period, with a Purtill deuce preceding an Abbey Nealon three-pointer that helped halve their arrears to six heading into the final quarter.

And they continued to build on that momentum, upping their defensive intensity, which sparked swift counter attacks that Gocek, Jade You, Abbey Nealon and Emer Purtill all capped with buckets to see their side to victory.

“That was a nail-biter in the end, but the girls are lucky enough that they’ve had experience” said Mungret Community College head coach, Aoife Donovan.

“This is their fourth final here and some of them have played five finals here, so we’re really lucky.

“They’ve now done the double. This is a special team and I don’t know if we’ll ever have a bunch like them.

“They’ve set a huge standard for all sport in our school and there’s such a buy-in factor for sport in our school now because of this team. It’s just fantastic” she smiled.

Quarter Scores: Q1: 12-9, Q2: 22-21, Q3: 30-36, Q4: 43-39

Mungret Community College:

Anna Nealon (Capt), Abbey Nealon, Méabh Purtill, Emer Purtill, Laura Gocek, Jade You, Kay You, Holly Meagher, Caoimhe Sweeney, Lillianna O’Mahoney, Jennifer Keane, Grace Kelly.

Head Coach:  Aoife Donovan

Top Scorers: Abbey Nealon (18), Laura Gocek (9), Méabh Purtill (6)

Calasanctius College:

Laura Colleran, Laoise McDonagh (Co-Capt), Kate Butler, Cara Cormican (Co-Capt), Katie Ross, Hannah Furey, Ellen Harlowe, Lábhaoise Keane, Katelyn Cummins, Ellie Martyn.

Head Coach: Josephine Burke

Top Scorers: Laoise McDonagh (17), Laura Colleran (6), Cara Cormican (6), Kate Butler (6)

MVP:  Abbey Nealon (Mungret Community College)