Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine, Kenmare are All-Ireland champions.
They’ve won their Schools U16A Girls Cup Final, beating Our Lady of Mercy from Waterford 53-52.
Overtime was required after the match finished 49 all.
There were stars at both ends of the floor with underage international star Tania Salvado of Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine knocking down a big 22 points in a superb MVP display, and she was supported by a dazzling supporting cast of Amy Harrington and Sarah Taylor to name but a few. Mercy meanwhile were led by fellow underage Irish international star, Sarah Hickey, who finished out with 20 points, while Caitlin Gloeckner and Orla Dullaghan each put in a stunning performance for the Waterford side.
The game was neck-in-neck throughout and from as early as the start of the third quarter, it was obvious that it was going to go right down to the wire.
An extremely close first quarter saw Gloeckner, Hickey and Bethany Power with great scores for Mercy, while Harrington and Salvado dominated at the other end, Salvado picking up some key rebounds to see Kenmare into a 14-11 end of quarter lead. The game remained neck-in-neck throughout the second quarter, as the sides matched each other score for score, and each time it looked as if Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine had found some breathing space, Gloeckner, Hickey and Orla Dullaghan were on hand to reply for Our Lady of Mercy at the other end. With three minutes to go until half time, Gloeckner finished off a superb drive to put Mercy into the lead, 22-23, and scores from Hickey and Dullaghan followed to see them lead 24-29 at the half.
Again, the third quarter remained a close and nervy affair, with the action end-to-end. Good work early from Harrington and Taylor for Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine tied the game up, before Gloeckner again managed to weave her way through and edge Mercy back in front. Back-to-back scores from Harrington saw the lead change hands again, before Hickey yet again tied the game up with a super score. A dazzling closing few minutes from Salvado edged Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine back in front by four, but a timely time out from Waterford saw Hickey, Gloeckner and Dullaghan pull it right back, to leave it tied at 41-41 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was another shoot out, with Harrington and Salvado leading the charge for Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine, once more stretching the lead out – this time to six points – by the half way mark. Up stepped Bronagh Higgins for Waterford though and she drained a long three to leave the game on a knife-edge once more. Dullaghan came charging through on the next offense and it was back to a one-point game once more. The sides exchanged scores as the clock ticked down, with Taylor to the fore for Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine and Hickey leading the way, dishing in a nice pass to Dullaghan to leave just a point in with less than 20 seconds on the clock and it was Hickey who sent the game to overtime, landing one from two free throws at the death to leave the full time score at 49-49.
A fast-paced overtime period followed, with Hickey and Salvado exchanging scores, while Taylor hit two of her free throws for Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine to see them into a 53-51 point lead with seconds remaining. A free throw from Hickey just wasn’t enough at the clock ticked down, and the Kenmare school somehow managed to hold on in thrilling fashion to win by just one point, 53-52.
POBAILSCOIL INBHEAR SCEINE (KERRY): Molly Bhamvra, Jodie O’Shea, Kate Cronin, Grace O’Brien, Amy Harrington (17), Lucy Daly, Tania Salvado (22), Chloe Cremin (2), Clionadh Daly (4), Sarah Taylor (8), Rachel O’Sullivan, Leah Donovan.
OUR LADY OF MERCY (WATERFORD): Mia Dunphy, Orla Dullaghan (10), Caitlin Gloeckner (17), Bronagh Higgins (3), Bethany Power (2), Sarah Hickey (20), Abbie Walsh, Amie O’Keeffe, Rafiat Oladiti, Lauren Collins, Precious Okon, Mia Swift, Jessica O’Neill.
MVP: Tania Salvado (Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine)
Padraig Harnett looks back on the action
Assistant coach Caroline Taylor