The Community Games basketball national finals were on in the University of Limerick campus his year for the first time and a huge crowd from Castleisland travelled up both days to support the 40 youngsters playing.
By: Bríd Kenny PRO
The first games took place Saturday morning at 10am and we had three teams playing at the same time.
Our U-11 mixed team met Kilcock of Kildare and had a tight first quarter. They shook off the cobwebs in the second quarter and took a great lead which they held onto for the rest of the game to win 11-5.
The U-13 girls were on in the next court against Portlaoise. This game was close from the start with both team fighting hard for their spot in the final.
The Portlaoise girls took the lead in the last quarter 15-14 but our girls were not going to give up and gave it everything and it paid off and we won 21-19.
The U-13 boys were on the third court against Johnstown of Kildare, the first quarter was a tight affair but again our lads were not letting this game go and pushed ahead in the second and third quarters getting some excellent scores and steals.
Going into the fourth quarter the Castleisland boys had a 10 point advantage and they did not let this go in any point of the quarter to win 27-17.
The U-16 girls were on at 12 against Malahide of Dublin. Malahide took early advantage of our foul trouble and went ahead 14-10 in the first quarter.
The girls were not going to miss their chance of the final and pulled again in the second quarter to lead at half time 29-24.
For the third and fourth quarters we held our lead and ran out winners 48-41.
Gold for U-11 Mixed
Onto Sunday and all our teams were into the finals against Maree of Galway and again our three younger teams were on at the same time again.
On court 1 we had the U-11 mixed team, we took the lead in the first quarter 6-4 and held onto it in the second 8-5.
In the third Maree starting fighting back for this title and took advantage of the free throws to lead 9-8 going into the last quarter.
It went down to the wire with Castleisland getting loads of shots off but none hitting the target, less than a minute left and Castleisland dug deep to get four points and claim their first All-Ireland Gold medal 12-9.
Gold for U-13 Girls
On court two our U-13 girls were in action and this was another cracker. Castleisland took the lead 5-2 in the first quarter but Maree are always going to fight back and at half time to lead was cut to 10-9.
In the third quarter we edged ahead again 14-11. The last quarter starting with both teams giving everything.
Maree were slowly getting closer to us and a nail biting finish saw us finish level at 16 -16.
Extra time started and you could see straight away that the Castleisland team wanted this gold and were going out for it. They all gave it everything and when the buzzer went we had won 20-16.
U-13 Boys going for Gold
On court three the U-13 boys were on and from start to finish they proved what a fantastic team there are.
In the first quarter some excellent plays were set up and our rebounding was not beaten as we went ahead 11-4.
In the second quarter Maree started a comeback but the Castleisland lads were not going to give up easy. The half time score:18-13.
The third qtr started and again we pushed on with excellent team work to go ahead 25-16. In the fourth quarter all ten players showed their class and determination to win this title 33-20.
High Noon for U-16 Girls
At 12 noon our U-16 girls were on court. They were up against a very strong Maree side and we were already down to eight players with injuries.
The Maree side took the early lead as we got into foul trouble and the lead was 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Some good play by us at the start of the second quarter saw us edge closer to them but again they had free throw after free throw and went ahead again 28-14. The Castleisland girls never gave up throughout the match and got some excellent scores but that early lead Maree got was still there 41-19 going into the last quarter.
Again our local girls fought hard and gave it all but Maree just proved too strong and the final score was 49-31 to Maree.
All 40 players, their parents and supporters met at the top of the hill in Castleisland for our parade through the town.
It was some sight to see the red and black colours flying high and a procession of up to 60 cars going up and the town and then over to Cordal where Hughes Bar had set up a great evening for all the families.
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