Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown stormed through the South-East School’s Basketball last week contesting all Senior and Junior finals in WIT Arena.
The Junior Boys team were victorious against High School, Clonmel in a tough game. Although trailing by 8 in the last quarter, PDLS fought hard with Jamie Doyle coming to the fore with impressive outside shooting. With the efforts of Doyle, Sean Nolan, Niall Bolger, Liam Roche and Darragh Nolan, PDLS snatched a 7-point victory which would see them claim the ‘B’ title for their third year in a row.
The Senior Boys team were also pitted against Clonmel. In the league phase, both teams took their game to overtime so PDLS knew this was going to be a very tough game.
Leading from the offset, PDLS were convincing throughout. Captain, Paul Roche, was outstanding ably supported by Shane Dooley, Jordan Kelly, Tadgh Roche, Luke Kelly and Cormac Lomax.
Both teams shared the lead but PDLS drove on in the last quarter and sealed the victory 52-42 in what was a thrilling game.
PDLS Junior & Senior Girls competed in the ‘A’ division this year, the first time in school’s history. This promotion to ‘A’ now sees the girls play against the best players and teams in the country.
The Junior Girls qualified out of a very strong group and played an excellent Presentation Waterford team in the semi-final. Pres Waterford had some key international players, but PDLS pulled through quite comprehensively leading the first quarter 24-9. This lead would never be reclaimed and PDLS sailed through to the final against Loreto Kilkenny.
The final was contested in WIT arena. After a 9-3 lead, PDLS controlled the game from start to finish. In the last minute, PDLS had a 4-point lead but Loreto were relentless and brought the game to a 1 point deficit with 2 seconds remaining. Heartbreakingly, Loreto scored a buzzer shot to win the game 30-29.
Some sharp shooting from Niamh Bambrick, Jane McDonald, Siofra O Neill and strong defence from Shauna O Neill, Maggie Forde and Rebecca Sheehan ensured PDLS now qualify for the All-Ireland A playoffs in Janurary.
It went from heartbreak to heroics as the PDLS Senior Girls emphatically claimed the Senior ‘A’ title. PDLS remained unbeaten in the league phase and topped the group. They overcame Mercy Waterford 49-25 in the semi-final which would set them up for a final against reigning champions Pres Waterford.
The final was a tough contest. Pres Waterford took an early lead and pushed this lead to 31-19 at half time.
Coach, Leon Power stated “PDLS showcased why they are mixing it with the best when they soared back into matters taking the game to overtime despite some injury concerns. It was a very tough game but these girls are advocates for the sport. They never give up and this is why they are in the top division with the top teams”.
It took two overtimes to separate the teams. Through the shooting prowess of Caoimhe O Neill, Amy Dooley and Rachel Sawyer and the tenacious defence of Helen Roche, Aoife Roche and Niamh Forde, PDLS captured the title, 49-41.
In PDLS’ first year in the A division, reaching both finals is a remarkable achievement. They now go on to the All-Ireland series hoping to replicate last year’s success in the National Basketball Arena.
All of PDLSB Senior & Junior Boys and Girls teams have all qualified for the All-Ireland series in January in what has been a major successful year so far.
Not bad for a school with no sport’s hall!