In our efforts to keep some Conlethian good vibes flowing, we bring you more BC (Before Corona) News: Our U19 team were involved in perhaps the last basketball game played before the shutdown, a narrow loss to old friendly foes St. Andrew’s in the SDBL Final. Our name has been etched on this particular plaque many times, and will be so again, but this time we settled for an honourable second place, nipped by a strong, international Andrew’s team. Big man Luke Gilleran and fireplug Keane Acosta were again forces for us, as were graduating Sixth Years Suyash Patidar and Josh Bergin and rising youngsters Ralph Garing, Luke ‘C3P0’ Sherlock and Oisín Thornton, but it was Colin Bolger who really shot out the lights and earned a share of the MVP award.
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And Sixth Year Jack Doyle had the honour of captaining the side in his last appearance in a St. Conleth’s basketball jersey. Jack has been part of St. Conleth’s since Junior School days and his devotion to basketball and the school as a whole has been steadfast and strong. Like his ancestors from the middle of America, Jack has always been the epitomé of hard work, team spirit and impeccable manners.
Bring the Noise!
There was a poignant moment at the recent Past Pupils Dinner when select members of the Class of 2010 got together to recall their shared glory days of St. Conleth’s basketball: when Herron and Purcell and McCormack and McCoy and Carr and Co. shocked the world of Irish Schools Basketball, winning the All-Ireland double in 2008. And, now, current St. Conleth’s coaches, Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan are establishing quite a record of ‘glory days’, themselves. The First Year boys team have been on a rampage since the season tipped off, rivalling last year’s First Year rugby team for consistency and promise. Below you see pix (Thanks, Scott!) from a romp over St. Benildus and just last Friday they won a thriller over St. Paul’s, 31-30, with the Twin Powers (Fionán and James) and Cormac Hayden leading the way. That dramatic win has put the boys into an Ireland East Basketball Ireland Final, which will be played on Thursday at the Oblates Hall in Inchicore at 11:10. But, hang on, we have another final to support before then: the U19s will play today (Wednesday) at 4:15 at St. Andrew’s for the SDBL crown. Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger, Keane Acosta and the the boys have a great chance to add another ‘St. Conleth’s’ to the engraver’s to-do list!
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B-Ballers Show Mamba Mentality
Basketball fans worldwide recently mourned the loss of one of the all-time greats, but Kobe Bryant’s emphasis on mental attitude and preparedness lives on in young players across the globe, including those at St. Conleth’s. Led by Coaches Ingle and Gahan, and the elder statesmen U19 Boys, Conlethian teams from First Year up had a great January, posting (and posterising) such fabled adversaries as Benildus, Blackrock, Mt. Anville and St. Michael’s. Luke Gilleran and Colin Bolger are no strangers to headlines, leading their Conlethian team to glory at each stage of development over the years, as well as playing for nationally prominent clubs and recently being named to the Irish team for their respective age groups.
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Old, friendly foes Colaiste Eoin knew they were up against it when they drew St. Conleth’s in the SDBL U19 Boys Semifinal. These plucky Gaeilgeoirs, from the poshest Gaeltach in Ireland, have faced us many times over the years, and they have (almost) had their share of the spoils, but when you are lining up crosscourt from two Irish players such as Luke and Colin, even the famous 10% Irish bonus points are not going help much! And our boys politely but firmly put our southside neighbours to the sword, with Luke pouring in buckets from the paint, including an in-game thunderous dunk, and Colin ducking and chucking from the perimeter. As usual, the supporting cast did their part: Keane cleaning the parquet with his hustle; Jolly Jack D, Jack T. and Josh doing their devil-may-care Sixth Year thing; youngsters Sherlock and Ralph learning on the go (and the give); and Suyash Patidar snapping the ropes with a NBA trey!
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Our U19 squad have given us many thrills over the years, but our younger teams seem eager to follow on the same path to success. Our First and Second Year teams have started their league campaigns with spirited performances and some impressive wins against such powerhouses as St. Benildus’s, Blackrock and St. Michael’s. First Years Fionan, James, John, Steph and Yubo have shown particular swagger… and a good bit of skill to back it up!
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And how could we forget the girls! St. Conleth’s is now fully co-educational, and, if anything, our boys have had a hard time keeping up with the girls when it comes to sport! Our First and Second Years have combined into one superteam, and with wins over Mt. Anville, Woodbrook and the ‘girls school that have a purple kit’, it is clear that it is not just in hockey and athletics where our newest Conlethians are going to competitively shine!
Those PE classes and after-school trainings sessions seem to be paying off regarding Junior School basketball as, for the first time, we were AIJS Basketball Tournament Finalists! Our Junior School team had their best performance ever: finishing runners-up to megalithic St. Michael’s, and beating perennial powers Castlepark, both their A and B teams, en route to the final. We did notice the familiar names of Moriarty-Smyth and Sherlock on the team-sheet, proving that their athletic prowess is not limited to the noble art of fencing. Of course, it takes a full team, and then some, to compete in an intensely paced blitz-like tournament, so well done to all the boys and their coaches!
A Different Shade of Green!
He shoots, he dribbles, he passes, he scores… and now he plays for Ireland! Luke Gilleran has made the ‘final 22’ of the Ireland Under-18’s Mens Basketball Team, joining past Conlethian hardcourt luminaries such as Peter Herron and Mark Ryan, who also represented their country. Here we see Luke demolishing the competition but we will be showing you him in that other green jersey, soon!
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The Tiger Roars Again!
Most of our current students are too young to remember but for a few years after the turn of the millennium, Ireland was the happy hunting ground of the Celtic Tiger and we did things and bought things (mostly the latter) of which we will probably never be able again. Locally, we mark the height of the ‘Tiger’ with two historical events: one, when they started selling straight pomegranate juice at the Baggott St. Spar and two, when the Boys’ U19 Basketball team flew, yes- ‘flew’, to Cork for an All-Ireland Cup match. Somehow we convinced ourselves that the logistics demanded air travel, just the way one of our big men, Gavan Duffy, thought it logical that he should spend all of his €20 traveling money on sunglasses at 6:30 in Dublin Airport, in the rain. Really, you had to be there.
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Well, the cranes are up again, and there is a €200 steak available on Shelbourne Road, but we have learned our lessons and now spend our money much more surreptitiously, like holidaying at Centre Parcs in County Longford. But one thing that harkens back to the golden years is the state of St. Conleth’s basketball. Coaches Ingle and Gahan and their charges, both boys and girls, are absolutely ballin’ it! The Conlethian teams went. combined 5-0 last week, including a return trip to County Cork (alas, via coach this time) where the U19 Boys, once again led by Luke ‘Lord of the Paint’ Gilleran and Colin ‘Bomber’ Bolger, trounced the country cream of Rosscarbery. The dynamic duo had their usual support in the feverish antics of Keane Acosta and the glove-like ‘D’ of Dylan Alvez as well as some new contributors: Luke ‘Silky’ Sherlock stepping up from the 16s and off-season transfer ‘Dapper’ Daniel Duarte making his big game debut. And the boys were not alone this week in snapping the nets and cleaning the glass: the Girls, U16 and U!9 versions, beat St. Pat’s Cathedral and Pres.-Terenure, following up on their double over Ballinteer the previous week. Overall, an impressive slate of victories and a return to hoopla headlines for St. Conleth’s. Who knows? We may be on to Ryan Air for the next round of the cup…
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B-Ballers Bring the Noise!
Judging from the roars emanating from the Sports Hall on Friday at lunch-time, Steph Curry dropping 23 in the 4th quarter to shut the door the Rockets has nothing on Sean Ingle singeing the nets for four straight 3 pointers, each a dagger in the heart of the Sixth Year Basketball Team. And the crowd of enthusiastic student supporters grew even more rapturous with each thunderous pick set by Mr. Peter ‘Granite’ Gahan and each exclamatory block delivered by ‘Swattin” Shane Robertson. Rookies Mr. Smith and Coleman did their part too, transferring skills learned over their long and storied respective MMA and UFC careers and Mr. Latvis even chipped in with a couple of playground pirouettes. The students were full of effort and not without talent: ‘Jumpin” Johnny Barry was his usual engine of endeavour and Lil’ Latvis periodically established his class but they and ‘Gutsy’ Gavin Roche-Griffin, ‘Jugular’ John Kelleher, The Blyncher, ‘D-Train’ Dylan Browne and ‘Proper’ Pierce Roberts just could not stem the flow of staff swish and bang. And the crowd went wild…
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B-Ballers Still Bouncing!
It was a hectic end to the official basketball season as Coaches Gahan and Ingle led both boys and girls teams into the postseason. Our Second Year boys lost very narrowly to Rathcoole in the Semifinal of the Basketball Ireland Dublin Plate and our Second Year Girls team (filled out with several First Years) won a thrilling Quarterfinal match against Choláiste Chillain, but lost a very close game to Lucan Community College in the Semifinal of the Basketball Ireland Dublin League. The fact that their opponents had at least three club players, and were probably playing down at least a league level or two, makes our girls’ accomplishment even more impressive. But if you think that with the leagues finished, the gym will now only be filled with the becalming vibes of Mr. Porzadny’s Wellness workouts, think again, for Gahan and Ingle are readying their 80s mix-tapes and their boomboxes for their famous OG Post-Easter ‘3 on 3’ Tournament. The beat, and the bounce, go on!
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Juniors Win Basketball Derby!
Nothing gets the blood up like a local ‘derby’. Just think of the blue versus the red of Manchester or the hoops versus the bigots in Glasgow… well St. Conleth’s also has its fair share of neighbourhood rivalries. Our Senior School Chess teams particularly love taking points from Gonzaga; the rugby and basketball teams get particularly ferocious against Marian and, before they relocated to a higher sphere of being, John Scottus and we used to have epic yogic flying races. Well the recent Junior School Basketball match in our Sports Hall (our first ever ‘official’ home basketball game) took it to a new level as we were facing St. Mary’s of Haddington Road, a school we know well from epic chess battles and the express queues at Tesco. And there was something extra on the line, for St. Mary’s was coached by none other than the brother of St. Conleth’s Head of Basketball Sean Ingle! This showdown had the makings of a Hollywood movie, or at least a Hallmark channel tearjerker.
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But there were no tears, only cheers as the two teams competed in a spirited but friendly manner and the nets were snapping at both ends of the court. The final score had St. Conleth’s winning 31-29 and that in itself tells a story: many junior basketball games end with baseball scoreboard totals: 8-6, 12-7 etc… But such was the enthusiasm and skills on display from both sides, that the scoreboard was spinning like it was an NBA All-Star game: a true tribute to the players and the Coaches Ingle!
Two Wheels Good!
Now, that’s a real ‘pick and roll’! TYs enjoyed a day of sporting fun with a social dimension as they took part at Gormanston College in the Irish Wheelchair Association’s fundraising basketball league. It was a great day out and everyone played their part. Of course, our ‘regular’ basketball stars such as Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger and Keane Acosta were wheelin’ and dealin’ all over the court but it was great to see newcomer Ian Mauer showing off his skills and Vanshika Shukla and Ciara MacNally absolutely dominating the mid-court with their stylish pivots and passes. Check out the (many) pics below!
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Balling with the Best!
Another busy Conlethian international sportsman! TY Luke Gilleran recently travelled with the Irish Basketball U17 Development squad to an international three day tournament in Mulhouse, France and played against top European competition from France, Serbia and Russia. Luke scored 63 points in 6 games including 21 points v KK FMP Belgrade and 19 points v Lokomotiv Kuban. He also ‘cleaned up’ a lot of defensive boards in particular. And it was raining 3s for Luke – he hit 5 3s in one game and 4 3s in another, and was selected to participate for the Irish team in the tournament 3 point contest. Luke’s Irish team played in the 3rd/4th place play-off in the main arena in the Palais de Sport in Mulhouse (7,000 capacity).
U19s’ Future Looks Bright!
With essential parts Mark ‘Ronan’ Connor and Johnny ‘Taz’ Barry on the shelf due to injury, the Boys U19 Basketball team was always going to be up against it in the SDBL Semifinal and when we drew perennial nemesis, St. Andrew’s, it was assured to be a dogfight. Only seven brave young men suited up, but they gave the perennial powers a run for the money, and though we lost on the scoreboard we won on the style and the swagger, in a sport where they matter, too. Like Philly last year and Brooklyn this, these kids may not always win, but they always put on a show! Colin Bolger was Iverson-like as he shot the lights out and hounded the St. Andrew’s guards relentlessly. Luke Gilleran was his usual rebounding and shot blocking machine and the quintessential big man dime dispenser. Andrew ‘Casimir’ Latvis, emulating his Eastern European NBA heroes, plied both the paint and the perimeter like a junior Jokić. Josh Bergin and Jack Doyle were doubling their minutes but showed no let-up in effort or skill and Keane Acosta was again a streak of green as he dashed up and down the court, shooting at a whim. And barrel-chested Jack Topliss, like a 1980s Piston, came on for some thumping picks… but somehow found time to also take the amazing pics below! Well done to the boys and Coach Sean on a great season. The future bodes well, with only Andrew and Johnny declaring for the draft.
A Thousand Words…
…is the supposed value of a picture but the frequent visitor to these pages knows that we often throw in the thousand words anyways, for good measure! This time, however, we will let the photographs speak for themselves. Our usual TY ace reporters Edwin and Seoyeon were joined by new recruit, Adam Rafter, and he proved a quick learner as he traipsed around the various sporting venues, snapping away with his usual good humour, despite having just roused himself from his sickbed . The events themselves were a trifecta of moral victories but actual losses: our JCT went down to Blackrock College (yes, that Blackrock College!) but put up a darn good fight; our Senior Hockey girls lost to Louth powerhouse Dundalk Grammar; and our U16 Boys Basketball team was edged out in the SDBL Semifinal by perennial foreign student-enhanced powers, St. Andrew’s. Three losses yes, but all against top-notch competition, and there is more to come in each sport as the JCT face the rugged farm-boys of Ardee (pronounced ‘AR-deeeee’) in the Duff Shield quarters; the Minor Hockey team is steaming into the post-season; and the U19 Boys have a SDBL Semifinal vs. St. Andrew’s later this week. We feel that… oh yes, enough said. Now, the photos!
Holiday Hoop News!
We already know that our U19 boys basketball team have continued their winning ways under Coaches Ingle and Gahan and they have another postseason appointment with glory in the New Year, but let us bring you up to date with a couple of our other teams. The U16 Girls certainly had a successful season, narrowly losing their league semifinal in a toughly contested match but having a season full of wins to look back upon proudly. There was a one-point loss to start the season but then the girls reeled off victories against Sandford Park, Presentation-Terenure, Larkin CC and Mt. Anville, and mostly by comfortable margins! Well done to the girls and we look forward to one even stronger team next year.
And our First Years have picked up in basketball where they have been all year in rugby: winning! Coaches Ingle and Gahan lead them to the final of their first blitz of the year. Stay tuned as their season gets into gear in the new year!
The deck was stacked against the Staff basketball team from the start. The Sixth Years (the Man City of schools basketball) had a veritable All-Star team ready to roll, having recently bought up most of the available free agents at the trading deadline, including the expensive foreign imports, Marlon ‘Air’ Marishta and Michael ‘Lethal’ Lee. What could the Staff team do but resort to the time-honoured Irish method of trying to nip a victory with heart and grit (and a bit of hold and trip) or, at least, making the loss as difficult and as bloody as possible! There was also some native talent on the student team: Conor ‘Tower’ Power performed his usual, thankless task of impersonating a Wisconsin farmboy and methodically pulling down rebound after rebound; Oisín ‘Puck’ Gilligan floated around the 3-point arc all day like his Shakespearean hero, flitting from side to side and occasionally inflicting dagger treys; Alex Murphy, despite feeling a bit queasy as it was all a bit cosier and sweatier than a lawn tennis match at the Fitz, still managed to make some spirited drives; Luke ‘McHey’ McKay’s quickness, dexterity and cockiness transferred well from rugby as did Gavin Nugent’s heart and hustle; and Captain Harry launched shots from every possible position and angle, even making a couple. Coupled with Marlon’s F-15 assaults on the rim and Michael’s lethal defence, it is no wonder the Staff team felt the pressure!
Coach Sean Ingle’s dramatic, just-in-time, tip-off arrival harkened back to 1970 when Willis Reed stumbled out of the locker-room at half-time and spurred the Knicks to championship glory. And the support of the many watching student fans 9both Junior and Senior), decidedly Staff supporters, gave us extra impetus. Our own ‘High-Tower’, Mr. Magee, battled nobly with the student giants; relative youngsters Gahan and Robinson ran and jumped with abandon; and Mr. Lonergan brought his usual Wolverine effort to loose ball pursuit and Mr. Sheridan showed a bit of French flair with his passing, all complementing true pro Ingle’s masterclass in floor generalship, but in the end, alas, it was not to be, as the study march of time and Mr. Keenan’s quick whistle eventually did us in. It is a good thing we not have long to wait for revenge: the Staff are looking to extend their ten-year unbeaten streak vs. Sixth years on Tuesday in the annual soccer match in Irishtown!