All-Ireland heartbreak for St Columb’s

The outcome of the 2013 Under-19 Boys All-Ireland ‘B’ Schools’ Basketball Final was in doubt right up until the dying seconds, but it was St Columb’s College who suffered the heartbreak of defeat in the end.

The Buncrana Road school just fell short of securing the title against their Cork counterparts, Kinsale Community College at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Wednesday afternoon, following an intense contest which could have went either way.

Indeed, the final was an end-to-end affair right up until the final minute of the fourth quarter and it was Kinsale who displayed nerves of steel to defend a late lead and lift the trophy.

In the early stages of the game, Kinsale’s captain, Mateusz Rudak had led by example, scoring his team’s first four points and celebrating in style afterwards.

St Columb’s had got off to a much slower start, however, the influential Jordan McClelland made the most impact for his team in the early stages.

McClelland produced five of the Derry school’s seven points at the end of the first period which had seen Kinsale amass a healthy 10 point advantage.

Chris Dunne and Troy Dillon all added early scores for the Co. Cork boys but St Columb’s turned up the heat in the second quarter and began to chip away at the deficit aided by a Kinsale cold shooting streak that seemed to sap their energy.

While Jordan McClelland continued to make a significant impression for the Derry boys, contributions from both Nathan Brown and Caolan Harrigan helped push St Columb’s ahead by two points at the end of the quarter.

Derry were clear and worthy winners in this period, scoring 19 to Kinsale’s seven points.

Early in the third quarter Rudak fell victim to a technical foul and an injury which forced him to take a seat on the bench.

With their captain on the sidelines, Jordan O’Connell kept Kinsale in the game with smart close-range shooting.

With three minutes remaining in the quarter and after some physio attention, Rudak returned to take matters into his own hands, scoring shortly after returning to the court.

But the Derry boys were determined to retain their lead. Jordan McCelland produced a long range jump shot from behind the three point line, putting St Columb’s in front by three at the end of the quarter.

The final quarter was tense and there wasn’t much between the two teams for the entire eight minutes.

The tension was steadily building but cool heads prevailed when McClelland converted two from the stripe following an intentional foul.

Before long, Derry were in foul trouble sending Kinsale’s Timmy Broderick to the line to tie the game.

From there, Kinsale hit the lead and ran down the clock at every opportunity.

And despite a basket from Niall McDaid in the final minutes, Kinsale had done enough to ensure they were crowned All-Ireland league champions by a five points total.