Harper’s Temple of boom in U-19 A final

by Stephen Findlater
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TEMPLEOGUE College dished up an absolute thriller at a packed Arena in Tallaght as they saw got the best of St Malachy’s College in the Under-19A Boys SUBWAY Schools Cup final on Tuesday.
Templeogue’s Matthew Harper was crowned MVP of a game that had absolutely everything but had a huge supporting cast around him in the form of Iarla McKeon, Sam and Jack Walsh to name but a few.
St Malachy’s were dominant across the floor too, with CJ Fulton one of the stars on the court for the Belfast team
Templeogue started the game the brightest, driving into an 0-5 lead early on, but Malachy’s soon settled and by the end of the first – which saw Templeogue leading by just 8-11 – it was obvious to all in attendance that this was going to be a ding-dong battle.
Big scores from Templeogue captain Sam Walsh, McKeon and Adam Riordan in the second quarter were answered at the other end in style by Niall Hurson, Niall McGinnity and Matthew Mulholland and it was neck-in-neck throughout, with Malachy’s just holding a slim lead at the half, 34-32.
An absorbing third quarter followed, as within the first 40 seconds, the games were tied at 35 points apiece, and two huge scores from Harper followed to edge Templeogue back into the lead moments later.
A fantastic move inside from St Malachy’s Hurson saw the games back at level pegging second laster though, but this was responded to almost immediately at the other end with a massive three from Iarla McKeon.
End-to-end action it remained, as Conor Cooke responded for Malachy’s, but again, a huge score from Jack Walsh from Templeogue kept them just ahead, before two final free throws of the quarter from St Malachy’s put the bare minimum between the sides going into the last, 50-51.
Another extremely close quarter followed, with Malachy’s taking the lead (60-59) midway through thanks to super work from McGinnity.
But a super steal from Walsh saw him find Harper inside under the boards, and Templeogue went up by four, 60-64.
With their tails now up as they could see the clock counting down, Templeogue began to push on. A huge defensive display from the Dubliners in the closing minutes set them up for some fantastic scores at the other end and they ran out 65-74 point winners in the end after an absolutely classic game of basketball.
Also on Tuesday, St Colmcilles, Knocklyon won the Under-16C girls final with a 40-29 win over Gortnor Abbey.

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