The winning St. Oliver's team celebrate their victory.
Revenge was certainly sweet for St Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda, as they won out 61-44 over Colaiste Einde of Galway in the Under 16 B Boys All Ireland Schools League final at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.
While the Galway side were hoping to scoop two All-Ireland titles this year – having already won the Cup back in January – St Oliver’s had drastically different ideas. They had previously met and lost to Colaiste Einde in the Cup semi-final but were well prepared for the challenge today, taking the reins of the game from the start and delivering a fast-paced, driving offense and a tenacious defence. Superb displays from MVP and captain Clinton Ofodile, Wede Esajobar and Josh Ola for St Oliver’s was the difference and ensured the title is winging its way back to Louth.
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These two sides are no strangers to each other this season, having previously met in the Subway Schools Cup semi-final which Colaiste Einde won, but revenge was certainly sweet today for a well-drilled and on-form St Oliver’s side.
Superb displays from Wede Esajobar, Clinton Ofodile and Josh Ola for St Oliver’s sent them into the lead early on, as they chipped in some great scores to have a ten-point cushion (17-7) at the end of the first.
They kept control in the second, limiting Colaiste Einde to just seven points, as they extended their lead with Ofodile, Esajobar and Ola all increasing their tallies, while Zain Timajo worked brilliantly on defence to get some vital interceptions to lead 30-14 at half time.
Colaiste Einde weren’t done though, and settled more into the game in the third quarter. Cup MVP Malik Thiam had a huge quarter, bagging eight points for the Galway team, while James Parnell, Ben O’Sullivan and James Webb were also on hand to try and close the gap. Again, captain Ofadile, Mark Alao and Ola responded well at the other end, and managed to stretch their lead back out as the clock ticked down to lead 48-30 going into the last.
Time was not on Colaiste Einde’s side as the fourth got under way, with Oliver’s laying down the marker with six quick points from Timajo, Ofadile and Esajobar. Thiam, Webb and Parnell continued to work hard at the other end, but the mountain was just too big to climb and St Oliver’s were crowned deserving All Ireland League champions.
ST OLIVER’S DROGHEDA: Muhammad Saod, Zain Timajo (11), Wede Esajobar (19), Clinton Ofadile (15), Josh Ola (8), Mark Alao (8), Damien Dooley, Emmanuel Ezumah, Brandon Barry, Adam Rooney, Sean Murray, Domatas Paulauskas, Graham King Abor.
COLAISTE EINDE: James Webb (13), Lewis Ferrer, Shane Befula, Uyi Uyiosa, Ben O’Sullivan (2), Christian Alletsee, Dominic Matei, Prezemyslaw Siwak, James Parnell (13), Romain Gadioux, Malik Thiam (16), Neil Jennings.
MVP: Clinton Ofadile (St Oliver's)
This article was written by Anthony Murphy