Feb 20 2024

Coláiste Éanna make it three-in-a-row in All-Ireland Under 19A Boys Schools League after victory over Mercy Mounthawk

Coláiste Éanna served up a display of exceptional composure to surmount Mercy Mounthawk and land their third successive All-Ireland Under 19A Boys Schools League title, winning out 62-54 in the National Basketball Arena on Tuesday.

Looking to avenge their loss to Mercy in the National Cup semi-finals earlier this season, Éanna stole a march on their Tralee rivals early on in this League decider, racing 8-0 up within the opening two minutes as Viktor Lovic and Adam Charles each drained two buckets.

But Mercy soon settled and restored parity, courtesy of David Lucid and Tomas Kennedy who quickly followed his big three with a deuce.

Still, it was the Dubliners who finished that opening period on the front foot thanks to buckets by Lovic and Dean Kiernan that left them up by four.

The second quarter proved a real see-saw affair as buckets from Olaf Michalczuk, Kennedy and Lucid for Mercy were countered with those of Nathan Comerford, Lovic and Charles for Éanna.

The Rathfarnham side still held a three-point advantage heading into the third quarter, but a Michalczuk effort from beyond the arc, coupled with a Kennedy effort saw Mounthawk overtake into a two-point lead.

It set the scene for another enthralling quarter of basketball in which both sides continued to go toe-to-toe, with the lead swinging back and forth.

Yet Éanna suddenly began to inflict a lot more damage from downtown, as Comerford, Adam McCarthy, Kiernan and Adam Walsh all got a return from their long-distance attempts before Charles had the Éanna faithful on their feet with a delightful dunk on the counter.

That capped a superb close to the penultimate quarter for the Dubliners who led by 11 heading into the closing eight minutes of play, which they ignited with Lovic and Charles buckets that pushed their advantage out to 15.

Tralee’s Joshua Osayanrhion attempted to jar that momentum with a steal and basket only to see Kiernan respond with yet another three for Éanna.

Osayanrhion went to the line for two more before Michalczuk drained a three to make it a seven-point game, but a three-point play by Charles helped Éanna keep the ship steady.

Lovic was left in the clear to plant a bucket before Charles claimed one from the line to keep the Dubliners up by seven with a minute to go and Mercy were unable to produce a late special to turn this one around.

“They [Mercy Mounthawk] actually beat us in the cup semi-final, so for the lads, that was something we had to get over” stressed Coláiste Éanna head coach, Hillary Netsiyanwa.

“The players knew exactly what they had to do. They’d been preparing for this over the mid-term, so it’s a credit to the players and how committed they are.

“There were future Super League players on both sides of the court here today, so the calibre of teams is amazing for Under 19 schools basketball. What a great role-model they are for the younger kids.

“I must also add my thanks to Karen Hogan who manages our team and all the basketball in the school” he said.

Quarter Scores: Q1: 8-12, Q2: 21-24, Q3: 33-44, Q4: 54-62

Mercy Mounthawk:

Ryne Ybanez, Tomas Kennedy, David Lucid, Ryan Sheehy, Oisin McGibney (Capt), Evan Boyle, Roan Grattan, Johnny Dawson, Conor Galvin, Sean Heaslip, Olaf Michalczuk, Joshua Osayanrhion.

Head Coach:  John Dowling

Top Scorers: Olaf Michalczuk (20), Tomas Kennedy (15), Joshua Osayanrhion (15)

Coláiste Éanna:

Adam McCarthy, Harry Lynch, Odhran Comerford, Conor Chambers, Nathan Comerford (Capt), Antwone Barnett, Patrick Walsh, Daniel Hamill, Adam Walsh, Viktor Lovic, Adam Charles, Dean Kiernan.

Head Coach: Hillary Netsiyanwa

Top Scorers: Adam Charles (16), Viktor Lovic (16), Nathan Comerford (11), Dean Kiernan (11).

MVP:  Adam Charles (Coláiste Éanna)