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Bantry school is excelling on the pitch and hardcourt

December 26th, 2022 10:40 AM

By Matthew Hurley

Bantry school is excelling on the pitch and hardcourt Image
Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí's U19 boys' basketball team that is through to the national cup final.

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THESE are good times for the talented young sportspeople of Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.

Earlier this month, they enjoyed a dream week. On Monday 5th, the Bantry school won the U15 boys Munster football for the first time after beating Coláiste Dún Lascaigh, Cahir by 5-10 to 3-10.

On Wednesday 7th, they qualified for not one, but two national basketball cup finals at U16 and U19 levels. Their junior rugby team then qualified for the Munster Schools Junior Cup. Then, last week Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí’s senior rugby team made it through to the Munster Schools Senior Cup; the first time both senior and junior teams have qualified together.

‘It was a huge achievement for everybody involved in all the sports. We have a huge amount of sport going on in our school all the time,’ said basketball mentor Pat Curran.

‘We have amazing teachers who give their time to extracurricular sports. We’ve reaped the rewards from that in the last few weeks.’

For a school that has already nurtured some top West Cork athletes such as Darragh McElihinney, they’ve now stamped their authority on other sports.

The football team, who are mentored by Alan O’Sullivan, David Harrington and Ivan Kingston, had their Munster final against Cahir all but wrapped at half time, 4-7 to 0-2, and the team held on for a memorable win. James Murray, DJ O’Brien, Oisín Murphy and Seán O’Sullivan were just a few standout performers for the school. This underage victory could provide a blueprint of what’s to come.

‘The football win was a first for the boys and we would hope it would start a bit of a trend,’ Curran said.

‘We’re pulling from Bantry, St Colum’s, Muntir Bhaire, Glengarriff, some from Adrigole and Tadhg MacCarthaigh. You’d imagine between the five clubs we’d be able to put out strong GAA teams.’


In basketball, the school’s U16 team beat Presentation De La Salle of Carlow in the University of Limerick by one point. They produced a miraculous comeback after being down by 12 points after the second quarter. They reduced the margin to five going into the final quarter and that set up James Keane to be the hero in scoring a lay-up followed by a three-pointer with 14 seconds left. Jack Phillips and Charlie Curran were also an inspiration.

In the same venue against the same school, the U19s won 54-51 in their semi-final. Again, Presentation led at the halfway mark but Bantry showed great grit. Scores from Cian Keohane and Ethan Hanley completed a brilliant turnaround.

The rugby teams are looked after by Peter Cawley, Damien Hicks and Ivan Kingston.

‘When teams go out, you always expect them to do well. You do expect a bit of a reward when both the kids and the mentors put in a load of work,’ Curran explained.

A factor that may suit Bantry over other schools though is that they have Christmas exams occurring in November rather than December. This allowed them to put all their eggs into the sporting basket.

‘It suits the school to get them done early because of the amount of sport we’re involved in,’ Curran admitted.

‘If you have a deadline for a match, you can put it off until after the exams, whereas if you’re trying to get a match played before the holidays and the exams are up on top of you, you’re in a bit of trouble.’

Nevertheless, this has been a memorable few weeks on the sporting front for Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.

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