St Columba’s Comprehensive School Glenties defeated Colaiste Pobail Setanta in the final of the U-16 B All Ireland Schools Cup on Wednesday. Glenties pulled off a remarkable comeback, running out eventual 25-23 winners, at the end of a game in which they had trailed from the outset. It was remarkable turnaround for the Donegal side, who showed incredible strength and determination, snatching victory at the death over a crestfallen CPS side.
CPS were the quicker side to settle in this one, surging into an 8-3 first quarter lead. Glenties found it difficult to attack cohesively in the early exchanges and it was CPS who took advantage thanks to some enterprising moves involving Zach Andrew, Venz Pagayonan and Jason Conway.
Glenties managed to settle themselves in the second quarter and managed to reign-in the CPS lead to one point. Credit must go to the Donegal school who showed impressive mental strength to fight their way back into the game. The Northerners ensured they went into half time on level terms, 12-12.
CPS began brightest again in the third quarter, opening up a six point lead with two minutes remaining.CPS seemed to have the edge, the variation and speed of their attacks often proving too difficult for their opponents. Nonetheless Glenties remained in contention heading into the final quarter, trailing by 21-17.
Steven Moore and Ethan O’Donnell appeared key to any hopes Glenties had of overturning the deficit. John McDyer was perilously close with a three point effort early in the fourth, only to see it rebound away to safety. CPS were displaying a cool head in a pressurised situation, but Glenties would not go down lightly. Kevin McGettigan broke to reduce the deficit to two with just three minutes of the match remaining. O’Donnell then stepped up to level the scores with two to go, as Glenties began to believe that this might be their day. O’Donnell struck again in the dying embers, a score that would prove decisive as Glenties secured the title with seconds to go. Final score 25-23.
The depths of courage and resolution shown by the team is a great credit to their coach, Manus Brennan, whose calm head and words of inspiration lit the touch paper on this great victory. On a week of great sorrow, these young men brought great joy and pride to their school – cheered to the echo by their army of supporters. All those sessions in the new gym have reaped a rich reward, Mr. Brennan, his players, his helpers Eoin Boyle, Ryan Malley and Kieron Thompson – all deserve every bit of success that comes their way. Well Done to all!
St Columba’s Glenties 25 (E O’ Donnell 11, C Gallagher 4, S Moore 4)
Colaiste Pobail Setanta 23 (V Pagayonan 12, C Pagayonan 4, Z Andrew 2)
MVP: Ethan O’Donnell, Glenties.