BASKETBALL: Incredible double for Dublin U-18 side

by Aaron Dunne
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Meteoric rise as Dublin girls shoot for starsThe girls of Meteors Under-18 team just completed an historic treble, adding the U-18 DLBB League title to the Dublin Cup & the All Ireland Cup.The girls have been together in the main since Under 12 and whilst always competitive, they didn’t win a single trophy ‘til a breakthrough victory last year in the Under 17 Dublin Cup. Since then Meteors have soared.

First up they won their qualifying tournament for the All Ireland Cup meaning they were now down to the final eight, In Ireland.

A win over Team Kerry Bobcats meant a trip to Cork to face long term Dublin rivals Liffey Celtics, one of the favourites for the competition.

In a tense battle Meteors came out on top by six. Next stop, the “Big Show” for Irish basketball, the Arena in Tallaght for the National Cup Finals weekend.

Read more in this weeks Dublin Gazette out in stores now

In the final they faced another of the fancied teams, Brunel, sporting four current internationals.

Led by current Dublin football panellists Grace Prenter & Aisling Moran, Meteors came out on top for a first win for a Meteors team in this competition.  Co-Captains Sophia Fearon & Ava Gilleran accepted the trophy in a packed Arena.  

Next stop, the Dublin Cup, against, you guessed it, Liffey Celtics.

In a low scoring game, Meteors came out on top by a single point, leading to a semi-final win against Ongar Chasers, before a dominant win against Templeogue, led by Spanish bound Grace Prenter with an incredible 37 points in the final meant the girls were two for two.

Here it gets interesting. In an incredible game of basketball, with seven internationals on display, Liffey Celtics won their home league fixture by five points after overtime. In the return fixture, with Grace still sunning herself in Spain, Meteors pulled off a huge upset to beat Liffey at home by four.

It looked likely though that Liffey would hang on in their remaining games to win the league on points difference by one point, that’s half a basket!

Ongar Chasers had other ideas. In a powerful display Ongar held on to beat Liffey by a single basket, meaning if Meteors could win their last game, against a resurgent Ongar, they’d win the league.  In a packed Ongar gym, complete with horse mascot, Ongar came out firing and there was just six points between the teams after three quarters. Meteors pulled away in the final quarter to eventually win by 20, but to all present, it felt much closer. (continued at dublingazette.com)

There’s a strong GAA connection. Four of the girls play football for Kilmacud Crokes and the complimentary skill sets are there for all to see.

There’s a UCD Marian connection too. Both Ava Gilleran & Aisling Moran’s brothers have won the All Ireland cup with Marian and coach Alan Fearon, father of co-captain Sophia Fearon, has played with UCD Marian for the last 41 years!

The coaches Seamas Donnelly & Alan Fearon have run with a 14 player panel all year. Coach Donnelly, “the girls showed such loyalty and commitment all year that decision was made not to cut anyone from the squad, a decision that has obviously born fruit.”

Five of the girls were actually Under 17 this year and will fancy another cut next year. For the legit Under 18’s it was a great way to finish off their underage careers, winning the league in their final match to complete the treble.

Sponsored by Finance One, the girls are looking forward to a little trip away after the exams to celebrate the year.

Team

  • 24    Ava Gilleran – Co-Captain
  • 23    Sophia Fearon – C0-Captain
  • 13    Ailbhe Ryan
  • 14    Caoimhe Curran
  • 4     Jenny Flood
  • 9     Freya Blennhassett
  • 10    Jodi Geaney
  • 11    Aisling Moran
  • 8     Grace Prenter
  • 6     Ebie ni Lideabha
  • 18    Riona Grealy  
  • 7     Anna O’Sullivan
  • 47    Chloe Downey
  • 5     Aine Marmion

Coaches – Seamas Donnelly and Alan Fearon

Manager – Dolores Geaney

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