In a relatively short time, we have grown accustomed to continued success for our basketball teams, and sometimes that can be a heavy burden to bear. Not that you can tell from the play of these boys! St. Conleth’s Basketball has consistently been winning trophies for years now, a tremendous tribute to coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan. No other school our size has established and maintained such a basketball pedigree, so quickly. And this year, once again, the programme has played ‘above the rim’. After reaching the Ireland East Final, they powered through the various stages of the All-Ireland Finals to earn another day of destiny at the National Basketball Arena.
Their All-Ireland Quarterfinal game was against Cobh, and it was a close affair before the Conlethians pulled away, once again led by James ‘The Tower’ Power. James was missing his usual partner at the top of the scoresheet, Enda Crowley, who is currently off impressing the filles with his basketball (and perhaps other skills) on a TY exchange in France, but the rest of the team raised their game in support of our skyscraper. John ‘Mountain Man’ Engmann played a beast of a game, filling the paint with sturdy defence and running the floor with the grace of a gazelle…. well, a cross between gazelle and a freight train. Guards Myles Moriarty-Smyth and John Byrne were rapier-quick as they repeatedly foiled the opposition’s attacks and made stylish advances, themselves. Joe Kelleher showed his characteristic intensity and athleticism, playing the three spot with aplomb and it was no surprise to classroom teachers of Hugh Leahy and Cian McMunn, that these two played like whirling dervishes, scampering around the court and fearlessly making stops and runs against players two years their senior. And, of course, the rest of the team came off the bench to do their part in this historic victory. The All-Ireland Bronze Medals were assured but the boys nearly took the next step up the podium in a hard-fought loss against traditional power, Tramore. Not to be, but the bit of metal hanging around the neck was reassuring, and with some young talent, and returning francophones, the future of St. Conleth’s Basketball continues to look bright!