Abbeyfeale keep the faith
U19 'A' GIRLS ALL-IRELAND SCHOOLS
Colaiste Ide & Iosef Abbeyfeale 59 Holy Faith Clontarf 42
COLAISTE Ide & Iosef Abbeyfeale held off an attempted fight back from Holy Faith Clontarf to win the All Ireland U-19 A girls final at the National Basketball Arena. Inspired by the sharp-shooting of MVP Eibhlis Dillon, the west Limerick side had been in control throughout, but a late push from the Dublin side meant that Abbeyfeale were made to work hard for their eventual victory.
Eibhlis Dillon struck first for Abbeyfeale with a fine shot from outside and repeated the trick moments later as the Limerick side raced into a 6-1 lead.
Abbeyfeale were clearly a danger from long-range, highlighted by Tina Mangan´s effort, which gave her side an eight point lead. Sarah McCaffrey replied for Clontarf. Dillon was on target again from outside, as Abbeyfeale began to pull away on the scoreboard. An ominous looking 16 to three lead at the end of the first quarter a fair reflection of their early dominance.
Clontarf needed to come up with an answer and Eimear Beades came up with a three before Aoibhinn Byrne added to make it 24 to ten. It was a definite improvement from the Dublin outfit, but they were still finding it difficult to contend with the attacking threat of Abbeyfeale, most notably Dillon. Sorcha McNulty was doing damage inside for Abbeyfeale, who were looking comfortable at half time, with a commanding 41-21 lead.
Dillon took up where she had left off at the beginning of the third, as yet another three pointer extended the lead to 23. Enya Brady responded with three for Clontarf and Aoibhinn Byrne netted soon after to reduce the arrears to 18.
Still, Abbeyfeale were always a danger in attack and successive scores from McNulty stretched the gap again. Despite a spirited effort from the Dublin side, they failed to convert crucial opportunities when they were on top, trailing 54-35 despite a vastly improved performance.
Abbeyfeale managed to close out the game in the final stages, Dillon's composure proving invaluable as they secured the title with a deserved 59-42 win.