On Tuesday the 22nd of January the girls from Coláiste Ailigh will make history when they take to the floor of the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght to represent the school in it’s first appearance in an All-Ireland girls final. The girls hope to emulate the success of Coláiste Ailigh’s boys u16 team who tasted All-Ireland success in 2013 at the same venue.
Coláiste Ailigh booked it’s place in the final when they overcame tough opposition from Old Bawn College Dublin, on a score line of 52-48.
Their journey began back in October when they travelled to Mercy College Sligo. This is the first time a girls team from the school had entered a national competition so it was unchartered territory for all involved. All went according to plan on the day and the girls recorded a resounding 50-36 points victory, and haven’t looked back since.
The Quarter final produced a home draw and the school was able to host its first ever national basketball fixture. Glenamaddy Community School of Galway were the visitors to Cnoc Na Móna on this occasion. Again, the Letterkenny outfit proved too strong for the tribeswomen, as they powered to a 44-21 victory.
The team is managed by the school’s PE teacher, Keith O’Comhain and the shrewd acquisition of Lynda Nic Aonghusa as team coach has proved to be a winning formula. O’Comhain explains, “ Lynda’s knowledge of the game is excellent and her experience of working with the girls at club level has proved a key factor in this team’s success to date.
Lynda is a coach with Letterkenny Blaze, and has worked with a handful of the team since they were at primary level.
“Lynda coaches a few of the girls at club level, so she already has that relationship with girls. It’s been great to witness their development, and hopefully they can reap their rewards next week in Tallaght.
The team overcame a strong and aggressive Old Bawn in the All-Ireland Semi- Final which was played In the Oblates Basketball club Dublin. That stern test should stand the girls in good stead come their Final encounter on tuesday, where they will face Laurel Hill Secondary School Limerick.
The Munster opposition boast a strong basketball pedigree with their U19 team also involved in an All-Ireland final on the same day. This would indicate that the young women from Letterkenny will have to be at their very best on the day if they are to bring the trophy back to Coláiste Ailigh. All past pupils and friends of the school living in the capital are asked to come along to the National arena and support their alma mater. A big crowd students and parents is expected to travel down from Letterkenny to roar on the girls. The game starts at 2.00pm.
The Coláiste Ailigh panel is: Méadhbh Ní Shiadháil, Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin, Erin Ní Dhochartaigh, Annie Nic Giolla Iontóg, Michaela Ní Ghallchóir, Megan Ní Chearnacháin, Kayleigh Nic Aonghusa, Sinéad Nic A'tSaoir, Shauna Ní Uiginn, Ellie Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh, Siubhán Ní Dhomhnaill