St Malachy's College preserve All-Ireland title with fine victory
St Malachy's College, Belfast retained the Subway All-Ireland Schools Under-14 A Cup with a thrilling 35-29 win over Presentation College Bray at the National Basketball Arena.
Malachy's, who defeated St Joseph's 37-26 in the semi-finals, found themselves 6-2 behind early on but CJ Fulton - son of former Irish captain and Malachy's teacher Adrian - came up with 13 points in the space of seven minutes to drive his side into the lead.
But the Bray lads fought back and closed the gap through Milo Dollings and Killian Barr before Conor Eastwood's three-pointer put Malachy's 17-12 ahead at the break.
Eastwood, one of the outstanding players on the court, opened the third quarter with another three, while Fulton continued to run the show from the point.
Despite coming under growing pressure towards the end, Malachy's held their nerve with Niall Quinn coming up with some crucial rebounds.
"We just did enough in the early stages of the game," said Malachy's coach Phil Molloy. "CJ's points in the first quarter gave us the cushion we needed. Guys are just finding their love for the sport.
"We've got some very good players and some that are new to the game."
Assistant coach Adrian Fulton added: "The most impressive thing for me was the character that the boys showed from start to finish. They didn't panic when under pressure and for many it was their first time playing in the National Arena. To retain the trophy is very special - they all did the school proud."
Meanwhile, Rathmore Grammar's boys won the All Ireland C final with a 38-24 victory over Virginia Cavan.
Andrew McClean, Jonathan Kennedy and Reece Kennedy were outstanding for Rathmore in the semi-final and final.
St. Malachy's College, Belfast: CJ Fulton (22), O O'Boyle, D Ferguson, D Price (2), N Quinn. Substitutes: V Eginco (1), R Kingi, C Eastwood (6), N Morgan, C Rocks, C McDonald (4), P Sheehy. Presentation College Bray: E Florides (2), T Hoolihan, R Walsh, C Eddy, R Paul (17). Substitutes: Z Collins, C Drysdale, K Barr (4), P Jacon, M Dollings (4), J Purdy (2), C O'Donoghue.