COLÁISTE Pobail Bheanntraí’s reputation as a basketball hotspot has been rubberstamped by the success of both its boys’ and girls’ first and second year teams.
In recent years the school has won an U19C All-Ireland boys’ league title and this season contested the All-Ireland U19 B final – and now the young guns are closing in on more glory.
The Bantry’s school’s boys’ and girls’ first and second year teams have all qualified for the finals of their Basketball Ireland competitions with four teams preparing for their big day.
In schools’ basketball the whole school has to be the same grade across all ages for boys and similarly for girls. Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí have been at B in girls since 2016. This is their first year at B for boys.
The first year girls enjoyed a clean sweep in their group, topping it and beating Crosshaven in their home semi-final. The second year girls came second in their group, beaten only by Coláiste na Toirbhirte but met them again in semi-final and beat them by two points in a thriller. Both girls’ teams play Mallow in their finals.
The first year boys also had a clean sweep in their group, winning all five games and last Friday they beat Kinsale Community College in their semi-final. They now play Glanmire in their final on Friday.
The second year boys lost out only to Kinsale in the group stages so had two away knockout games to reach their final where they will again meet Kinsale.
It is the first time in the nine-year history of the school that all teams have made it to the final game.
The added bonus of making the final is that regardless of the result both finalists qualify for the All-Ireland playoffs. This is a four team play-off where only the top team makes the All-Ireland semi-final, so after this week a lot more basketball will be played.
The captain of the girls’ first year team is Ella Downey while Sally O’Donovan captains the second year team. Michael O’Donovan is captain of the boys’ first year team and Sean Onovo captains the second year team. The girls’ teams are coached by Frances Land and Amy Whooley, while the boys’ teams are coached by Pat Curran.