St. Mary’s U-14 boys and girls competed in the All-Ireland club championships last weekend and both teams did the club proud.
Report by Bríd Kenny
The club committee would like to thank coaching team members: Maurice Casey and Denise Dunlea, Michael Broderick and Denny Porter for all they have done over the past year. They also extend thanks to the parents who have travelled all over Kerry and Ireland and supported both the teams and the club.
The U-14 girls travelled to Dublin to defend the title they won last year and they had two group games.
Tight Game in Prospect
First up was Maree of Galway. These two teams and clubs have met so many times at all levels in community games over the last few years. Both sides knew what to expect and knew that a tight game was in prospect – and that’s what they got.
St Mary’s got off to a strong start and lead 9-2 at the end the first quarter. Maree came out fighting in the second, but strong defence by the Castleisland girls held a lead of 18-12 at half time.
Again, Maree fought back strong and outscored the Islanders 11 to 7. The Kerry champions and representatives held on 25-23 going into the last quarter.
Why They Are Champions
Here the Castleisland girls showed why they were county champions and they held Galway to just two to come away winners on 33-25.
In the second game they played Templeogue of Dublin. The Dublin girls got off to a great start and led 6-11 at the end of the first quarter. The second five were raring to go and scored a fantastic 18 points to Dublin’s two to leave it at half time 24-13.
In the third quarter the Castleisland girls gave it everything and held their lead 36-20. In the fourth quarter their strong defence and pace saw them run out winners on the score of 46-25. This now set them up for a quarter final game against Titians of Galway.
As they did earlier in the day, the Castleisland girls were not going to leave anything to chance and stormed ahead 14-1.
In the first quarter a fantastic, near half way line shot by Sadhbh Prendiville brought it 25-7 at half time. Again the Islanders’ defence held strong in the third quarter to finish 35-14. All twelve girls got a run in the final quarter and they held their lead to finish 43-21 winners.
This now set up a semi-final against Limerick Celtics on the Sunday morning. This was a fantastic game with both sides and their supporters giving it everything.
It was basket for basket in the first quarter when the Castleisland girls got into foul trouble and Limerick took full advantage to go ahead 10-15. The Castleisland girls fought hard in the second quarter to bring back the lead and outscored Limerick 7-5 to leave it 17-20 at half time.
Gave It All
In the third quarter each player gave it all and outscored Limerick 8-4 to take the lead 25-24 going into the last quarter.
In the final quarter Celtics got off to a better start but the Castleisland girls soon regrouped and levelled the game with a minute to go. The Castleisland supporters were in full voice behind their team as a basket was scored and it was two up.
Then the Limerick side levelled it with another steal and went up two. A quick time out by the Castleisland team and a new play was set up. In the dying seconds Castleisland got the score off the play to level it again with two second left on the clock. Celtics then had the ball and disaster struck when their No 5 threw the ball and scored on the dying second to win the game 36-38.
The Castleisland girls were now in the third and fourth place play off against Maree. Both sides had the mark of each other but Castleisland had beaten them once before and weren’t going to let this game go. They lead 13-7 in the first quarter and by 21-9 at half time, by 27-13 at the end of the third and ended the weekend wining 29-20 for a third place in Ireland slot.
Team: Gemma Kearney, Sadhbh Prendiville, Aoife Dunlea, Áine Sheehan, Gráinne Walsh, Emma O’ Regan, Ellen Collins, Abbie Brosnan, Aoife Kerins, Paris McCarthy, Jane Lawlor and Katie O’ Connor.
U-14 Boys In Action
On Saturday and Sunday the Castleisland U-14 boys travelled to the Parochial Hall in Cork to compete in the All-Ireland finals.
This group was made up of five teams and in the opening game the St. Mary’s Boys defeated Fr. Matthews of Cork on a scoreline of 32 to 26.
Next up was Maree of Galway and again they came away with a win on a scoreline of 35 to 29.
The third game against Belfast Star in a top of the group clash. After a fast paced game, Belfast eventually won with 10 points to spare.
Three Tough Games
Now at 6.30 in the evening, and after three tough games, St. Mary’s faced St Vincent’s of Dublin. Vincent’s started the brighter and at one stage in the first half the Castleisland boys trailed by 14 points.
With fatigue a big factor, they showed great composure to claw back the 14 point deficit and draw level with two minutes remaining. Vincent’s hit a big three at a crucial point and finished the game stronger to win by eight points.
Off to a Great Start
On Sunday morning the St. Mary’s team competed in the 5th /6th playoff place against Titans of Galway. They got off to a great start and led all the way to finish on a scoreline of 30 to 23.
Overall, the weekend provided the boys with great experience competing against the best teams in the country at their age level. They can be very proud of their achievements throughout the weekend and during the entire season.