basketball

 

 

U19B Ulster final

Aquinas 58       St Columb’s, Derry 72

Aquinas had simply no match for last year’s U19 All-Ireland champions in the Ulster final played in UUJ on Thursday.

The damage was done in the first quarter with St Columb’s led by Irish U18 i

nternational Jordan McClelland racing out to a 25-13 advantage.  The rest of the game proved to be a lot closer and halfway through the secon

d half Aquinas had cut the lead to 7 points (55-48) but a three pointer by Brown of St Columb’s put pay to any hopes Aquinas had of getting back into the game.

In truth, some key Aquinas players failed to deliver on the day.  Joe Shields,

 

 Pearse Fitzsimons and Rory Maguire had good games but this wasn’t enough as the Derry school shot a high percentage throughout the game and ran out deserved winners on the day.  McClelland was the game’s top scorer with 26 points followed by Brown with 10.  For Aquinas Shields had 18 and Fitzsimons 12.

Both teams qualify for the All-Ireland play-offs that take place on Sunday 3rd March.  The venues are to be confirmed by Basketball Ireland (BI).

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U16B Ulster semi final

Aquinas  39      St Columb’s Derry 37

A great comeback from a 15 point deficit allowed Aquinas to progress to the Ulster final but at a cost as George Horner broke a bone in his foot half way through the game and looks set to be out of action for a number of weeks.

Like the preceding game, a poor first quarter saw Aquinas down 17-7 and this was extended to 25-10 at one stage in the second period.  However, a three pointer from Horner and good play from Emmet McLaughlin allowed the Belfast school to bring the score back to 25-17 at half time.

Another three from Horner (just before his injury) and a change to a triangle and two defence nullified the threat of Knox and Coyle.  In fact, great defense by Ollie

McGowan and Ronan Quinn restricted the two Derry guards to only 6 points in the second half with help from Christy CarlinDaire Comac and Matthew Leggett got going on the offensive end and Aquinas had a great 8 minutes to go in at 29-29 at the end of the third.  They then opened up a 6 point lead and although St Columb’s got back to within two points, Aquinas held on for a hard earned victory.

Horner lead all scorers with 17 points while Coyle had 14 for St Columb’s but notably only two points in the second half.

The Ulster final will take place on Friday 11 January against favourites St Joseph’s Derry in the Antrim Forum.  Both teams will play in the All-Ireland play-offs on Sunday 2 January.  Venues are yet to be confirmed by BI