LESS than two weeks after the untimely death of their beloved teacher and trainer, the girls of Abbeyfeale's Coláiste Ide Agus Iosef showed extraordinary resilience to take All-Ireland honours in the Under-19 School Basketball League on Thursday.
In what was a day of incredible mixed emotions, the girls dedicated their historic win to teacher and co trainer Sarah McGarry, who died after a short illness on Sunday, January 14.
The girls beat the former All-Ireland School League Champions, Holy Faith, Clontarf, in the final, which was held in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Thursday last.
Despite having just an eight-girl squad, the Abbeyfeale girls set the court alight by taking an early lead in the first half of the match, gaining an outstanding 20 point lead by halftime with a score of 41-21.
Although the opposition had a strong comeback in the second half of the match, the Abbeyfeale girls had proved to be too dominant in the first half of the game and had raced too far ahead to be beaten.
The final score was 59- 42 in Abbeyfeale's favour, proving to be a solid victory. Eibhlis Dillon played a particularly strong game, scoring 15 points in the first quarter alone and 23 points overall. Other star-players include Sorcha McNulty and Aislinn O'Connell, who scored 10 points each.
"The whole team is delighted. All of the players on the court scored on the day, which was a great achievement in itself and it's fair to say that all players contributed to the win", said school trainer Clare Sheehy.
The All-Ireland winning team was Laura Broderick, Sorcha McNulty, Leanne Mangan, Tina Mangan, Aislinn O'Connell, Eilis Dillon, Sarah Curtin and Katie O'Connell.