Coláiste Ailigh scored a historic win in this afternoon’s U16C Girls Subway All Ireland Schools Cup final.
Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny 59 Laurel Hill, Limerick 26
In Coláiste Ailigh’s first ever appearance in an All-Ireland girls final, at the National Basketball Arena, they led from start to finish.
Coláiste Ailigh were 18-7 in front after a superb first quarter and the lead was out to 31-14 by half-time.
MVP once more was the excellent Shannon Cunningham, who was ably aided by the likes of Shauna Higgins and Kayleigh McGuinness.
Coláiste Ailigh, managed by Finn Harps ace Keith Cowan and coached by Lynda McGuinness, began their journey with a 50-36 win over Mercy College of Sligo.
They put Glenamaddy CS to the sword with a 44-21 win in the quarter-finals and defeated Old Bawn 52-38 in the semi-finals.
Today’s win sees the girls emulate the U16 boys class of 2013, who tasted glory.
It was the Limerick’s side second final of the day, having lost out in the U19C battle this morning, but the players who crossed over the two teams certainly didn’t show any sign of fatigue, as they battled right up until the final buzzer.
It was a Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin inspired performance for the Donegal side that saw them home to glory as she put in an MVP display that included a whopping 40 points, but she was also key for them on both ends of the floor.
Laurel Hill had the better of the opening few minutes with Jennifer Duffy, Alex McInerney and Jana Zundel edging them ahead, but as the quarter ticked on, Coláiste Ailigh hit their stride and Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin and Shauna Ní Uiginn added scores, with the former notching 16 of her side’s opening quarter 18 point tally, to see them lead 18-7 at the end of the first.
Ní Chuinneagáin took over the reins of the game in the second quarter, driving hard at the Laurel Hill defense and, despite good work from Zundel, McInerney and Lily O’Halloran, Coláiste Ailigh led 31-14 at the half.
A spirited display from Laurel Hill in the second half kept their scoreboard ticking over but in the face of such a poised and polished performance from Ní Chuinneagáin, supported by a great display from Shauna Ní Uiginn, they just couldn’t close the gap and she finished out the game with 40 points to see her side home to Cup glory.
COLÁISTE AILIGH (DONEGAL): Ellie Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh, Erin Ní Dhochartaigh, Annie Nic Giolla Iontóg (2), Megan Ní Chearnacháin, Méabh Ní Shiadháil, Sinead Nic A’tSaoir (2), Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin (40), Michaela Ní Ghallchóir, Kayleigh Nic Aonghusa (2), Siúbhán Ní Dhomhnaill, Shauna Ní Uiginn (13)
LAUREL HILL (LIMERICK): Jana Zundel (7), Lily O’Halloran, Jennifer Duffy, Ashling Fahy, Emily Dickinson (3), Alexa McInerney (10), Sarah Cantillon, Sinead O’Brien, Eve O’Leary, Mia Pican, Roisin Ryan.
MVP: Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin (Coláiste Ailigh)
Watch the full game below …