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History made as Colaiste Iosagain, Scoil Chriost Ri and Portlaoise CBS claim Midlands basketball glory

Scoil Chriost Ri Colaiste Iosagain and Portlaoise CBS Midlands Basketball

History was made in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght yesterday as three Laois schools claimed glory in Midlands ‘A’ Regional finals.

The U-16 and U-19 boys finals were all-Laois affairs and they turned out to be two excellent games.

Colaiste Iosagain defeated Portlaoise CBS in a thrilling U-16 final that went right to the wire.

This was historic for the Portarlington secondary school as it is the first time they have ever won an A basketball title.

While Portlaoise CBS were disappointed with the U-16 final, they rebounded to defeat Knockbeg College in the U-19 final.

Scoil Chriost Ri have a rich heritage of basketball and they also took part in U-16 and U-19 deciders – winning the latter.

Colaiste Iosagain 45 Portlaoise CBS 42
Midlands Region U-16 ‘A’ Basketball Final 

This final was an absolute classic that saw a fantastic final quarter from Colaiste Iosagain result in them snatching victory.

Portlaoise CBS led 12-10 after quarter one and extended that to 20-16 by half time.

The lead was out to seven points as we entered the final quarter but Colaiste Iosagain timed their run to perfection.

Solomon Udeze superb in defence throughout for the winners while Ultan Dunne, Ruairí Bourke and John Cooney all contributed with scores.

Tom Westman and Michael Luttrell had game time and made important contributions.

In a quality finish in the 4th quarter, Samuel Emmanuel hit two three-pointers for Portarlington to go ahead. Samuel put in a super performance and turned the game around.

Coaches Louise Foster, Conor Mitchell and Nick Cosgrove describe the Colaiste Iosagain group as ‘a super team to work with, great bond with the team’.

They now are focused on the All Ireland Quarter Finals in A as last year, this team won the B All Ireland basketball final.

COLAISTE IOSAGAIN: Solomon Udeze, Ruairí Bourke, Ultan Dunne, John Cooney, Samuel Emmanuel, Ross Muldowney, Tom Westman, Bobby Moore, Joshua Hamilton, Michael Luttrell, Alex Dunne, Paddy Delaney

PORTLAOISE CBS: Daniel Booth, Josh Finn, Desmond Ogedegbe, Luke Kavanagh, Jack Fennell, David Apopei, Daniel Aliu, Love Omijade, Nyasha Mahona, Sam Mendendez, Ryan Daltan, Christian Web, Evan Dunne, Jack Murphy, Cormac Deegan

Portlaoise CBS 65 Knockbeg College 58 
Midlands Region U-19 ‘A’ Basketball Final 

Two Irish internationals went head to head as Portlaoise CBS and Knockbeg College clashed in the U-19 final.

Jack Kehoe from Knockbeg College, who plays National League for Carlow, and Cillian O’Connell, who does likewise for Portlaoise Panthers, have both represented their country in recent years.

They, and the rest of their team mates, served up an epic encounter that went right down to the wire.

Knockbeg had beaten the CBS in the group phase and began the game well – going 14 points ahead at one stage.

The CBS slowly fought back and Paddy Fitzpatrick deserves huge credit as he did a brilliant job curbing the influence of the excellent Kehoe.

A hard defence resulted in scores following down the other end as Portlaoise CBS came through.

They will now have a home quarter final in the new year while Knockbeg will be away.

PORTLAOISE CBS: Aaron Dooley, Cillian O’Connell, Cormac Howson, David Harrington, Paddy Fitzpatrick, Tony Walsh, Paddy O’Callaghan, Oisin Crossan, Luke Kavanagh, Eoin Murphy, Ivan Okonkwo, Odhran Phelan, Adam Raji, Conor Raggett, Aaron Keane, Jamie O’Connor, Nikita Neverov, Ryan Thomas Mitchell

Scoil Chriost Ri 48 Presentation Kilkenny 29
Midlands Region U-19 ‘A’ Basketball Final 

The Senior A team led from start to finish against Presentation Kilkenny, leading 12 to 9 after the 1st quarter and 24 to 16 at the half time.

A very strong 3rd quarter stretched their lead to 16 and despite their outside shooting going cold early in the final quarter, they finished strong to win by 19 points.

The foundation of their victory rested on a very strong box and one defence coupled with multiple scoring threats from fast break, perimeter shooting and strong post play.

This was great win for a very young Senior A team and they now look forward to a home All-Ireland Last Sixteen game after Christmas.

SCOIL CHRIOST RI: Rachel Byrne and Ella McNulty [Co-Captains], Stephanie Abrama, Shannon Quigley, Ella Hanamy, Niamh Fitzpatrick, Teaghan O’Reilly, Aisling Fleming, Ella Flanagan, Roisin Murphy, Chloe Byrne, Faye Brown

Scoil Chriost Ri 25 Loretto Kilkenny 45
Midlands Region U-19 ‘A’ Basketball Final 

The U-16 A team lost out to a strong Loreto Kilkenny side who played superbly throughout.

The Chriost Ri players will be disappointed with their performance in this final, starting very nervy and never getting to grips with the game especially on offence. Twenty five points is a very low score for this very talented team.

They qualify for an away All-Ireland Last Sixteen game after Christmas. Before that however, they have an All-Ireland Cup semi-final to look forward to in the UL Arena on Thursday December 8 against Mounthawk Community School, Tralee.

They will need to recover the excellent form that saw them overcome Cork schools St Angela’s and Carrigtwohill in the Last Sixteen and Quarter-Final respectively if they are to make it to the National Arena for the All-Ireland Final in January.

SCOIL CHRIOST RI: Roisin Murphy and Chloe Byrne [Co-Captains], Faye Brown, Cara Coleman, Margaryta Shabanova, Ciara Keenan, Ella Beere, Aoibheann Phelan, Kaleigh Dunne, Ailphe Carroll, Sarah Corrigan, Emily Conroy, Shauna Lalor, Kandece Ryan

SEE ALSO – Inability to recruit suitable coaches ‘one of the biggest problems in Laois GAA’

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.