There was a great day in Mucklagh Community Centre today as the Offaly Primary Schools Basketball Finals took place.
After the initial pool games three teams had qualified for the knock out stages.
The semi final game saw the Ballinamere NS team prove just too good for a young Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada B team who will have many more big games ahead of them. Gaelscoil B were led impressively by Úna Ní Bhriain, Polly Ní Dhufaigh, Grace Ní Thuairisc, Eimear Nic Oitir and Holly Bhattacharya.
The stage was set for the Final where defending champions Gaelscoil would put their title on the line against perennial winners Balllinamere NS in a repeat of the 2018 final. Gaelscoil got off to a great start with a basket from Sunniva Nic Sheain although Ballinamere were quick to reply through captain Niamh Galvin and Aine Byrne. Gaelscoil were unlucky to miss a few baskets in the second which allowed the Ballinamere girls stretch their lead through Julia Slattery and Jane Maher. The students from Mucklagh NS who have class in the community centre came out to cheer on the teams at this stage which led to a great atmosphere in the hall.
The second half began at a fierce pace with both teams going hell for leather for the win. Great defence from Laura Nic Aoidh and a string of baskets from Mia Ni Dholáin reduced the deficit to four points at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Ballinamere regain the initiative with impressive baskets from Amy McGreal to run out victors 26-14. Niamh Galvin received the cup named in honour of Tullamore's greatest basketball player Susan Moran to the jubilant applause of her teammates. Both finalists received a set of medals each.
Thanks to the referees and table officials from Tullamore BC who all once upon a time actually played in this tournament. Their help was invaluable. Thanks also to Offaly Sports Partnership for their generous sponsorship of the event.
The Cup is back home in Ballinamere after a year away and will remain there over the summer but no doubt great games will take place between the next generation of players again in 2020 in pursuit of Basketball Glory. Well done to all the schools who took part.