COLÁISTE Pobail Bheanntraí’s rise through the basketball ranks shows no signs of slowing down.
Last season the Bantry school hit new heights when they won the All-Ireland U19 C Boys’ Schools’ League crown, and this season, in the B ranks, they’ve also powered through to the All-Ireland semi-final.
Recently, Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí senior boys’ team beat Larkin College, Dublin, at home in Bantry on a scoreline of 92-67.
Captain Shane Murray led the way with 32 points and Liam Cotter scored 20 with Dylan Clifford getting 12. Larkin College boasted two national league players in Salim Yahuza of Dublin Lions and Thom-as Murphy of Eanna BC. This didn’t seem to have any adverse effect on the Bantry team who had a lot of homework done on their opponents.
Shane Murray frustrated Yahuza throughout the game with an outstanding man-marking display. Liam Cotter was outstanding on rebounds and Murray also provided a good few scores to put the Bantry school in at half time winning by 21 points.
Dylan Clifford proved hard to stop for the Dublin school, getting 12 points on the day and the offensive rebounding of Liam Cotter rewarded him with a 20-point total. Kevin Clifford and Thomas Flynn ran the court in the second half and Bantry eventually ran out 92-67 winners and make their way into an All-Ireland semi final a grade higher for the second time in two seasons.
‘We never imagined that we’d be in another All-Ireland semi-final so soon and at a higher grade and standard. Or even to be in our own section final at this grade,’ said coach Pat Curran.
‘It’s testament to the work the lads are doing at training. We even have a few of them coming in doing one-to-one sessions an hour before school on aspects of their game that they want to improve on. Eve-ry game is a bonus this year but the hunger and the ability is definitely there to do something special again.
‘The Larkin game was a high point in the schools sporting history. Here were two huge Superleague players being beaten off the court by a group of young lads from West Cork with their whole school behind them. It’s what makes going to school in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí so rewarding.
‘We are really looking forward to another day out in January, but we’ve a Southern section league final to play for first on December 3rd. We’ve a bigger squad this year with a lot of last year’s U16 team mak-ing the jump to senior and they have all really improved by training and playing at this level.’
Last Monday the same team played the Southern Section League semi-final and were pushed all the way by a very well-organised Kinsale Community College. Kinsale really took the game early to Bantry and had a superb scoring shooter in Reece Mooney, who totalled 19 points. Kinsale led by 22-17 at half time but the Bantry Boys came back in the third and fourth quarter with important three-pointers from Tom Flynn and Kevin Clifford to eventually win by 41 to 36.