BASKETBALL: Ulidia girls win All-Ireland title

Ulidia Integrated College celebrate the school's All-Ireland U19C Girls Cup win over St Aloysius College. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Ulidia Integrated College celebrate the school's All-Ireland U19C Girls Cup win over St Aloysius College. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ulidia Integrated claimed the U19C Girls Cup on their return to All-Ireland basketball with a 68-49 win over St Aloysius College, Co. Cork.

The Carrick school were in double digits at the National Basketball Arena, Dublin before St Aloysius had scored from open play. Michelle Courts had the first two baskets of the day before Anna and Enya Maguire hit their scoring groove.

The Ulidia students were pushing the ball with precision and pace and were in control leading 16-9 after 10 minutes.

What St Aloysius had was guts. Through sheer work rate they created opportunities for Sorcha Phelan and Jessica O’Neill. Their efforts were causing trouble for Ulidia and allowing Niamh Murphy and Ciara O’Doherty to pick off points from the free throw line.

Ulidia were still shooting themselves clear of trouble, Enya Maguire crabbed left to drain a three-pointer before quick thinking off the inbound allowed Grainne Twomey to reduce the gap to 33-19 at half time.

St Aloysius couldn’t contain Ulidia early in the third quarter. Grace Kennedy was heating up before the Maguire sisters made big threes.

Suddenly, St. Aloysius starting launching the ball and making gains in transition. Jessica O’Neill pulled up before the buzzer to hit a jump shot at the elbow. With 7:40 left in the game, they had reduced the deficit from 28 points back to 16.

Coach Gareth Maguire knew the game wasn’t over and called a time out and Grace Kennedy’s role in the response earned her the MVP award.

Ulidia Integrated College: Enya Maguire 23, Anna Maguire 16, Grace Kennedy 10, Lauren McDowell, Michelle Courts 10. Substitutes: Emma McGuinness, Phoebe Cochrane, Alice McQuillan.