THERE was All-Ireland final heartbreak for Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí on Wednesday afternoon as the West Cork school lost the girls’ U19 C All-Ireland Schools’ League final (41 – 37) against Muckross Park School in the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght.
Bantry coach Frances Lane was full of praise for the Bantry girls’ heroic effort.
‘They left it all on the court,’ Frances said.
‘Everyone on the bench has been played to get us to this place and we’ve faced every adversity along the way. Niamh Cotter is a talisman and her cousin Emma got MVP. They’re an amazing bunch of girls.’
Bantry captain Niamh Cotter was the shining light for her side in the opening quarter and her defensive rebounds kept them in the game until Emma Cotter got them on the scoreboard. She was her side’s only scorer over the first eight minutes as the Bantry girls trailed 10 – 6 at the end of the first quarter.
Emma Cotter was at it again in the second quarter with a superb arcing drive with a right-handed finish and a 6 – 0 run brought the schools level midway through the second period. Muckross responded like champions through Emma Thurrouiz and another run from Aisling McCann gave the Dubliners a nine-point lead at half time, 25 – 16.
There was nothing to separate the sides in the third, as Aoife Cotter got in on the scoring for Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí. The Cork school was edging the stanza before Caoimhe Heckmann’s shot on the buzzer kept their advantage to nine points.
CPB burst onto the court to make a game of it in the fourth. Emma Cotter dropped the dime to Megan Enderson before Enderson made it a one-possession game with three minutes to go.
But the attritional nature of the game was taking its toll on the Cork side and they starting losing players to fouls. And it was the Dubliners left celebrating at the final buzzer.
Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí: Lauren Arundel, Aoife Cotter, Sarah Cronin, Megan Enderson, Michaela Andrews, Maeve Fitzgerald, Hanna Kelly, Beth Cronin, Nancy Hegarty, Emma Cotter, Niamh Cotter, Laura McCarthy.
MVP: Emma Cotter (Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí)
CPB top scorers: Emma Cotter 20, Niamh Cotter 7, Aoife Cotter 6.