Feb 21 2024

St. Joseph’s College edge titanic battle with Coláiste Éanna in All-Ireland Under 16A Boys Schools League decider

St. Joseph’s College, Galway came through a titanic battle with Coláiste Éanna to win out 52-49 and lift the 2023/24 All-Ireland Under 16A Boys Schools League prize in the National Basketball Arena on Wednesday.

A bucket from Adam McCarthy, together with a three-pointer by Harry Lynch got Coláiste Éanna off to a positive start, although St. Joseph’s remained snapping at their heels, thanks largely to Mikey Mitchell, who had 14 points notched up by the half-time recess.

Big efforts from outside the arc by Augustine Farrell and, later in the closing minute of the first quarter, by Karl Walsh, had Éanna six points up, but there was still time for Mitchell to reduce the Galway side’s arrears by two heading into the second quarter.

A Mitchell three, couple with a deuce from Ferdinand Osabuohien, nudged St. Joseph’s in front for the first time just under two minutes into the second quarter.

Yet scores from Lynch, McCarthy and Chisom Chime helped see Éanna retake the lead, if only temporarily.

Indeed, St. Joseph’s put together a seven-point run that earned them a five-point cushion heading into the half-time recess, Mitchell draining a huge three with 12 seconds to go.

That lead was extended to seven early in the third compliments of Darragh Kelly, but Éanna worked their way back to within a point as Farrell got in for a bucket, while Lynch and McCarthy got some return from the free-throw line and Walsh struck from outside the arc.

Nevertheless, St. Joseph’s regained the initiative over the closing minute as Osabuohien drained two free throws before Sam Herrick carded a three-pointer to leave their side six-points to the good with one more quarter remaining.

Éanna came out firing in the fourth, with big threes by Lynch and Farrell book-ending a mini-surge that saw them restore parity at 44 points apiece.

But St Joseph’s demonstrated superb resolve on the homestretch to retake a four-point advantage, as Osabuohien twice prevailed on the inside with just over a minute left on the clock.

Éanna were desperately trying to win back the ball, but it resulted only in a fouls on Luke O’Reilly and Osabuohien, who each made one of their attempts from the line to effectively assure St Joseph’s the title, despite a late three for the Dubliners by McCarthy.

“I think we came into this game as underdogs and that suited us” said St. Joseph’s head coach, Ross Conboy.

“We knew it was going to be tough, so we wanted to show up and play good basketball and keep the game tight and we were able to do that.

“We had some good shots, but we knew we couldn’t take our eyes off Éanna at all. They’re a really strong team and they can shoot the lights out.

“We’re over the moon to win this. We have a lot of Under 15 players playing up on this team, so we have a young side, and the fact that we were able to come here and do the business today, I’m just so proud of them” he smiled.

Quarter Scores: Q1: 18-14 , Q2: 26-31, Q3: 36-42, Q4: 49-52

Coláiste Éanna:

Adam McCarthy (Capt), Harry Lynch, Karl Walsh, Chrisom Chime, Augustine Farrell, Max McCarthy, Ignat Marchenko, Liam Thuemmel, Tadhg Connors, James Devane, Finian Moran, Hugo Mulligan.

Head Coach:  Hillary Netsiyanwa

Top Scorers: Augustine Farrell (15), Harry Lynch (11), Adam McCarthy (11)

St. Joseph’s College:

Louis Gannon (Co-Captain), Sam Herrick (Co-Captain), Luke O’Reilly, Mikey Mitchell, Jay O’Neil, Ferdinand Osabuohien, Sean Morrison, Alex O’Sullivan, Darragh Kelly, Jed Shaughnessy, James Higgins, Lukas Lydon.

Head Coach: Ross Conboy

Top Scorers: Ferdinand Osabuohien (17), Mickey Mitchell (14), Sam Herrick (10)

MVP:  Ferdinand Osabuohien (St. Joseph’s College)