Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Heywood Community School crowned All-Ireland Basketball champions for second successive year

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Heywood Community School brought home the All-Ireland Under 19B Girls Schools League title after they chalked up a 48-31 victory over Mercy Mounthawk ‘B’ in Tuesday’s decider in the National Basketball Arena.

Early buckets by Caoimhe Brophy, Kaylee O’Keeffe and Coldage Gee saw Heywood register seven points by the time their opponents opened their own account through Cara Gannon.

All-Ireland U-19 ‘B’ Basketball School’s League Final 

Heywood Community School 48

Mercy Mounthawk Tralee 31 

From there Mercy managed to close the gap to a single point thanks in no small measure to sublime three-pointers from Kate Collins and skipper, Roisin Rahilly.

But Heywood ended that period four points in front after Brophy struck from both the floor and free-throw line.

Another big defensive display saw Heywood hold Mercy to just five points in the second quarter, while they put up 13, compliments of captain, Faye McEvoy, who really lit up the court with a 10-point haul over those eight minutes.

It left their Tralee opponents with a 12-point gap to make up, but that did not appear a likely prospect after Brophy, Louise Doyle and O’Keeffe all put up scores to push Heywood’s advantage out to 16 just two minutes into the second half.

Rahilly served up another two buckets, while Grace Reidy and Roisin Quinn each added a deuce, but it did not amount to any sort of an erosion of Heywood’s lead.

They did enjoy a little more success in that endeavour in the fourth quarter as Rahilly and Lisa Slattery helped reduce the gap to 11.

But Heywood were always able to summon up a response, and baskets from O’Keeffe and Louise Doyle down the stretch ensured that Mounthawk were kept at arm’s length.

“I think the nerves got the better of the players in the first few minutes,” said Heywood Community School head coach, Lorraine Gee.

“We like to play a fast, pacey game. The girls are all athletes in their own right. We’ve serious camogie players, footballers, and Faye McEvoy competes in athletics at a top standard, so we knew we had the fitness there and we were well able to get out of the traps.

“I think we did really well on the fast break and we got the scores. It was a great win and it’s absolutely brilliant for the school,” she said.

Quarter Scores: Q1: 12-8, Q2: 25-13, Q3: 36-21, Q4: 48-31

Heywood Community School: Siofra Fitzpatrick, Coldagh Gee, Kaylee O’Keeffe, Carragh Concannon, Louise Doyle, Faye McEvoy (Capt), Caoimhe Brophy, Mary Kate Lanigan, Emma Carney, Ella Kelly, Sasha O’Keeffe, Leah Bergin.

Head Coach:  Lorraine Gee

Top Scorers: Faye McEvoy (12), Louise Doyle (10), Kaylee O’Keeffe (8)

Mercy Mounthawk Tralee: Rebecca O’Mahony, Eva Costelloe, Lucy Gratton, Cara Gannon, Kate Collins, Roisin Quinn, Laura Reilly, Lily May O’Gara, Grace Reidy, Lisa Slattery, Roisin Rahilly (Capt).

Head Coach: Liam Culloty

Top Scorers: Roisin Rahilly (12), Lisa Slattery (4), Grace Reidy (4), Cara Gannon (4).

MVP:  Faye McEvoy (Heywood Community School)

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