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Basketball: Unbeaten run of Bray finally falls

Presentation Bray's proud three-year unbeaten record came to an end at the Coláiste íosagáin gym on Sunday as St Aidan's Cork advanced to the semi-finals following a narrow 73-70 win over Marie O'Toole's team.

Coached by Jody Furlong and Neptune stalwart Ger Noonan, St Aidan's had in their line-up one Roy Downey.

Downey is highly rated in Cork and currently is on Paul Kelleher's U16 Irish panel along with Bray lads Lorcan Murphy and Andy Bartley.

And he turned in a fantastic display for his team as they edged past Pres to sneak it in the last minute.

Bray's offensive rebounding had been to the fore in the first quarter, with five straight points from David Mackin combined with a late basket from Brendan O'Neill leaving the host team up 19-12.

Aidan's were then left reeling when Ben Curran made back-to-back three-pointers to put Bray 31-18 ahead with five minutes to go in the half. But successive lay-ups from Shane Connolly and Downey, coupled with a three-pointer from Finbar Falvey put Aidan's right back in contention as the clock slowly counted down.

Nonetheless, baskets from Mackin (off two free throws) and Bartley ensured a six-point lead for Bray at half-time, 38-32.

The third quarter was a terrific affair with David Gosnell doing some serious damage on the inside for the boys in green.



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And after Falvey had tied the game for Aidan's midway through the quarter, the two teams freely exchanged baskets with Murphy and O'Neill leading the way for Bray. O'Neill struck for Pres right on the buzzer with a terrific jump shot to leave them ahead by the narrowest of margins, 58-57.

The fourth quarter began in a similar vein and, although Downey had managed to edge Aidan's back in front, two from two from Bartley followed by a Murphy basket handed Bray a 73-70 lead with three minutes to go.

But disaster then struck when Bartley went over on his ankle to leave Bray short on defensive options in what was a crucial stage of the game.

And after Connolly had made two of his free throws, Falvey then put Aidan's back in front with a hook shot from the right.

With 44 seconds left on the clock O'Neill hit the rim of the Aidan's basket with an attempted three-pointer and then, after Murphy had been shepherded over the line, Downey was fouled in midcourt.

He showed nerves of steel to convert his two free throws and, in the very last play of the game, O'Neill was just out with an ambitious three-pointer.

Bray, having begun the day with a 48-31 win over Knockbeg College, then had to pick themselves up straightaway in a game of little consequence against St Nathy's Roscommon.

But the game provided some good experience to the bench with second years Marc Lennon and Luke Gorman featuring well in the scoring stakes, as did Jake Messit, as Bray won out on a 64-26 scoreline.


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