History was made in the University of Limerick Arena on Friday May 11th as Coláiste Íosagáin Second year Boys basketball team won the All Ireland B title at the expense of Ballincolling Community School, Cork on a score of 26 points to 16.
This time last year the Coláiste Íosagáin team competed in the All Ireland semi final in UL, but lost to Summerhill Sligo, who went onto win the first year title. It was however an invaluable experience that showed its merit on Friday.
The season started with a loss to Tullamore, but the players bounced back with wins over Nenagh and Knockbeg, before defeating Tullamore in the regional final to advance to the last eight in the All-Ireland series.
In late April they then hosted the All-Ireland quarter-finals, where they had wins over Mohill, Castleblayney and Carraroe to progress to the All Ireland semi final in UL on May 11.
Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine were the semi final opposition, with Ballincollig CS and Cnoc Mhuire, Granard on the other side of the draw. The semi final played at 1:15pm was tense and exciting. Kenmare lead throughout and a daunting scoreline of 11-6 faced the Port boys at half time. A strong defensive press led by Matt Geoghegan narrowed this to 15-13 at the end of the third quarter and 19-17 with less than a minute left on the clock.
Nobody in the UL arena was prepared for what happened in the final seconds of this game. Colm Murphy, with possession and five seconds on the clock, made his way down the left sideline, faked right and fired up a three-pointer to claim a dramatic victory for the Port school.
Waiting in the wings was Ballincollig CS, who started well and went four points up. Portarlington, however, continued to apply pressure on the Ballincollig defence and close down their main man Forde, an Irish International. In addition, Louis Ashe Brown and Sean Smith punished them under the boards.
Coláiste Íosagáin lead at half time by 17-4. Smart ball control by Jake Foster and rebounding by Jack Walsh saw Coláiste Íosagáin dominate the 3rd quarter, and the score was 22-8.
The final minute seemed like an eternity, but Portarlington ran out easy winners in the end, 26-16. The supporting crowd rushed onto the court to greet their heroes. The Dick Rowley perpetual shield and gold medals was presented by Conor Lilly from Basketball Ireland to the Coláiste Íosagáin captain, Colm Murphy who led by example all through the campaign.