An inspiring all round performance from Clonaslee College saw the Laois team crowned All Ireland U16 C Girls Schools League Champions after their triumphant win over Aquinas 47-21.

Clonaslee’s Laura Hogan, received the ‘MVP’ award finishing with a total of 19 points. Hogan, who was the focal point for Clonaslee’s success, played the game from start to finis in a determined manner in order to bring the title back to her school.

With both teams arriving armed with a mass of supporters, the atmosphere alone set the pace for this eventful All Ireland Final. However, it was Clonaslee College that came off the bench all guns blazing as Hogan hit the opening shot. Aquinas soon responded with Roisin Murray hitting both free throws that she was awarded. Unfortunately, these were the only points her side netted in the first quarter as the scoreline finished 8-2 to Clonaslee.


As the game progressed Hogan rose to the challenge and scored a powerful 9 points in the second quarter. Teammate Heather Conroy also chipped in as she continued to attack the gaps in the key to help increase their lead further and end the half 25 – 8 ahead.


Coming into the second half Aquinas were not about to roll over and give up, with big scores from Aislinn McFarland and a huge three pointer from Laoise Carey, Clonaslee began to feel the pressure of maintaining their lead. The Belfast side increased their defensive pressure and although they challenged every shot and drove on each loose ball they failed to execute on the boards as Clonaslee picked up vital offensive rebounds which saw them convert them into key baskets.

Clonaslee’s Conroy continued to push the ball up the floor and not only did she hit some magnificent shots but she also fed her teammates with smooth full court passes to seal the deal and bring the title home to Laois.


The final score was 47 – 21.


Aquinas didn’t produce their best display on the day but have made great progress this year and are now promoted up to the ‘B’ competition next year.



The road to the final


semi-final:On Sunday 22nd January, the Aquinas U16 girls team travelled to Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, to compete in their first ever All-Ireland qualifiers. Up until four years ago, there had not been a girl’s basketball programme in the school. Recognising the potential for developing a club-link Mary Matthews, Queen’s Basketball Club, volunteered to work alongside Marie McCool, Head of Girls P.E., in order to set up a weekly after school programme to give girls in Aquinas an opportunity to play basketball.

As a new team to the All-Ireland schools’ ‘C’ competition, no-onecould predict how Aquinas’ girls would perform against the reputably strong competition from across the border. The tournament was hosted by Colaiste Oriel with three qualifying games for each team played in the Phoenix Centre, Carrickmacross.Aquinas vs Colaiste Oriel (Co. Monaghan) The first game tipped off at 9.30am with Aquinas competing against the host team, Colaiste Oriel. The Aquinas bench played a significant role in securing the team’s first victory with contributions coming from Magee, Carlin and Murray. Colaiste Oriel boasted two very strong players, who compete in the BNI junior leagues with Donagh, Ni Chleire and Ni hAmaill. The final score: Aquinas 37

Oriel 22.Aquinas vs St Tiernan’s The Aquinas team gained some confidence entering into the second game against St Tiernans who were without Kearns who picked up an injury in the previous game against the Kilcullen-side. Aquinas’ shooting guard, Short, made some excellent decisions in the half-court which helped put the team up 33-13 going into the second half. Defensive pressure by Boyle, Madden-McKee and Carey sparked transition offence for the Belfast team. This helped Aquinas secure a comfortable second victory with the final score: Aquinas 61 St Tiernan’s 20 Aquinas vs Cross & PassionTo close-out the day, Aquinas would need one more victory against an athletic and talented Cross & Passion team who travelled with a bus load of loyal supporters. Having witnessed both teams pick up two comfortable wins, this final game would be the most competitive of the tournament as both teams were fighting for their spot in the semi-finals of the All-Ireland ‘C ‘competition. Cross & Passion put up a solid 2-3 zone defence which forced the Belfast-side to shoot from the outside. Although Aquinas struggled to knock down shots, hustle from McKeever and Murray, kept the team in the game with tremendous offensive rebounding. Aquinas were able to remain composed the final two minutes of the game with tremendous leadership

from point guard, McFarland. The final score was,Aquinas U16 girls advance to the next round and will compete in a semi-final against Kinsale CS in early March.