Calasanctius College, Oranmore Crowned All-Ireland U-16 Basketball Champions

Congratulations from CEIST to Calasanctius College U-16 A Boys Basketball team who recently won the U16 'A' Boys All Ireland Schools Cup Final. The following is an account of the win from the school website.

Calasanctius College, Oranmore faced local rivals St Joseph’s College (Bish) in an historic U16 'A' Boys All Ireland Schools Cup Final where both schools came from Galway.

Calasanctius won their last league encounter, despite the fact that the Bish led by 10 going into the fourth quarter, so both schools were confident going into the final. The game was played in the National Basketball Arena, a big stage for these young athletes, in front of busloads of their supporters, including The Fox from Oranmore and The Leprecaun from the Bish! The noise level in the Arena was deafening at times!

The game began with a very cautious air about it, since both sides know and respect each other so well. Neither side over committed themselves too much before John Burke, from Calasanctius, picked off a steal and set up Eoin Rockall, on the break, for the first score of the game.

The Bish quickly replied with scores from Connor Curran and John Hackett to give them the lead, before Adam Cox, Calasanctius, won a superb offensive rebound and tied the game. The teams then traded scores before Rockall found Stephen Commins on a back door cut to give Calasanctius a slender 3 point lead 12 – 9 at the end of the quarter.

The start of the second quarter was littered with turnovers and missed shots before Oisin Doyle, Calasanctius, got his name on the scoresheet. Diarmuid Byrne, St Joseph's, replied with a layup before Calasanctius went on a 15 – 4 run, including 8 points from Rockall, to extend the lead to 29 – 15. The Calasanctius defence was rock solid during this period and Cox was superb on the offensive boards.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for St Joseph’s though as their guard Max Brennan managed to keep them within touching distance of the opposition with a 3 point buzzer beater as the game clock ticked down to zero to signify the end of the quarter. Calasanctius had a commanding 29-18 lead at halftime.

While a half-time performance by the Calasanctius College dancers and mascot entertained the crowd, it did little to lift the spirits of St Joseph’s as the gap between the two teams quickly widened from 11 points to 22 in the third quarter, led by superb shooting from Commins who hit 12 points, including a 4-point play. Burke, Doyle and Rockall added to their tallies to cap an excellent quarter for Calasanctius, leaving the score 48 – 26 at the end of the third.

With a seemingly impossible task of coming back from trailing by 22 points, St Joseph’s began the final quarter on a positive note when Curran drained a 3. Brennan also assisted forward Hackett in pulling back 2 baskets for St Joseph’s, but in the end it was nowhere near enough as Calasanctius managed to weather the offensive storm with scores of their own, including a 3 from Jim Crowley, and emerge as the winning team by an impressive margin of 22 points.

A massive contingency of support headed to Dublin to cheer on the team. 5 buses, over 250 students, 12 staff, 14 cheerleaders and a fox, had a great day out stopping at the Liffey valley and Athlone en route.

Preparations were put in places days before the big game. Cheer leaders practised, banners were ordered, face paints were purchased and jerseys were gathered. All of the supporters went to the school gym the day before to perfect their chants to spur their team on. The magic worked and the mood was high as parents, students, teachers and past pupils gathered in the school to welcome home their all Ireland champions.

Tribute was paid in the congratulatory speech, by deputy principal Cora Ní Loinsigh, to the lads and to their coaches John Finn & Mary Rockall, who have dedicated their time and invaluable expertise to many school teams over the years. Once again the school extends its gratitude to the duo for capturing another golden moment in Calasanctius' sporting history!

Calasanctius College 58 (29) - (E Rockall 19, S Commins 14, O Doyle 8, J Burke 8)
St Joseph’s College The Bish 36 (18) - (C Curran 13, J Hackett 10, M Brennan 9)

MVP - Eoin Rockall (Calasanctius)

Calasanctius Team: Adam Cox, Adam Hanniffy, Conor Harte, Eoin Rockall, Jim Crowley, John Burke, Mark Hughes, Oisin Doyle, Stephen Commins.