Pres finished their league games on a high defeating the High School by 30 points in the National Basketball Arena. Pres took the lead through their captain Neil Doyle and went on to put in a good team performance in the first quarter with all five players getting their names on the score sheet including a three pointer by Emmet O’Toole.
The High School found the Pres offence difficult to get to grips with and got themselves into team fouls in the first quarter giving Pres’ Rory O’Neill, Neil Randolph and O’Toole the chance to convert the free throws into scores which they duly did.
Pres finished the first quarter with a 21-6 lead. The second quarter saw more of the same from Pres. Sean Rooney had 3 consecutive baskets added to by Randolph’s three pointer and scores from Thomas Dodd and Jonny Conroy. Pres had a 36-13 lead going into half time. The second half saw a good team effort from Pres continuing. Eoin O’Dea and Kevin O’Neill made strong impacts on the court and the scoreboard when they came off the bench. Randolph, O’Toole and Rory O’Neill were playing outstanding defense alongwith Doyle. Pres were convincing winners at 68-28. This puts them in a three-way tie for second spot in the group.
The Under 16 game was a much closer affair than the senior match. Pres took a huge lead in the first quarter mainly through the efforts of Brendan O’Neill who opened the score and went on to contribute nine points including a three pointer, on top of 6 points from older brother Kevin and scores from Gary Dodd and Jeff McCann. David Mackin’s outstanding defensive work kept the High School to a mere 5 points. Pres went into the second quarter with a 21-5 lead. McCann and Kevin O’Neill were the top scorers for Pres in the second quarter but poor defensive work gave High School easy scoring opportunities which they gladly converted.
At half time Pres were still in a comfortable position with a 35-19 lead. The third and fourth quarters were a different story for High School. Pres relaxed on defense but offensively O’Neill, the Cleary twins, and McCann all added scores including a three from Gary Dodd to keep Pres in front at 51-38 going into the last quarter. As the last quarter started High School’s confidence was up and they reduced the Pres lead to only 8 points. Pres got increasingly nervous before Dodd and McCann added some scores to settle Pres. But a poor last quarter from Pres saw the High School score 14 points to Pres’ 9. Fortunately Pres had done enough to secure victory at 6052, and also finish joint second in their league group.
JCT ADVANCE TO LEAGUE FINAL
Pres advanced to the Leinster Junior League final after a hard fought win over a very strong Gonzaga side last Wednesday. The game was played in front of a large crowd in Greystones RFC with Pres support far outnumbering the Gonzaga fans. Gonzaga started strongly and had the best of the early play.
However, the Pres defence had little difficulty in dealing with the best of Gonzaga’s attack and our lineout picked off the Gonzaga throw every time that they tried to get a foothold in the Pres 22. When Pres finally got their attack going, they looked very dangerous. Kenneth Murphy and Cameron Higgs got Pres beyond the gain line. Quick ball from the outstanding Phillip Haughton put centre Cillean Guihen away. He then straightened the line before passing to winger Lorcan Murphy.
Lorcan burned his marker with a 20 yard run and looked destined to score in the corner before the Gonzaga full back stopped him inches from the line. Dean Redmond was on hand to pick up the quick ball to score in the corner. Haughton put the conversion wide to leave the score at 5-0.
Gonzaga were next to score when they converted a penalty, when the Pres defence was adjudged to be offside. This was a double blow as our inspirational number 8 Conor Guihen was forced off the field with an injury only seconds before.
However, Pres rallied and finished the half deep in Gonzaga territory. We could not add to the score, so at half-time Pres led by two points.
Pres began to dominate after the interval with Kenneth Murphy running hard with the ball at every available opportunity.
Cillean Guihen was such a threat that he was being double marked by the Gonzaga defence. This, however, left space out wide and Robbie Brennan began to look like a real threat. It was our other winger Lorcan Murphy who was best able to exploit this space, scoring in the corner after Guihen had drawn the winger off his man with Redmond offering support. Nothing was going to stop, the sprinter Murphy and his try was well deserved. Again Haughton missed the touchline conversion to leave just seven between the sides.
Pres soon put the result beyond doubt when Guihen finally got on the scoreboard. Again it was Kenneth Murphy who got us going forward with a barnstorming run. Haughton switched the play back down the short side to put the centre into the space.
Facing three defenders, it looked impossible to go forward.
Guihen thought otherwise and jinked in and out to beat the first two and then used his power and pace to beat the final defender to score in the corner.
Haughton kicked the extras to put 14 points between the teams. Gonzaga got a consolation try at the death but Pres had done enough at that stage.
The final whistle blew when scrumhalf Eoin Carroll kicked the ball out on the last play a la Peter Stringer leaving the hundreds of Pres fans delirious as they invaded the pitch. Pres move on to the league final where we hope to see our inspirational Captain Phillip Haughton lift the trophy for the first time in the school’s history.
Pres Bray qualified for the semi-final of the South Leinster Championship with a comprehensive and hard-fought victory over Wexford CBS in Bray last Friday.
Pres signalled their intent from the start and a goal from James Molloy after 15 minutes set the tone.
Points from Molloy (3), Oisin Greenan and Brian Maher saw them ease to a 1-5 to 0-3 lead at the break. Despite playing against the wind in the second half Pres truly showed their experience and guile by maintaining a fine lead. Further scores from Molloy (4), Barry O’ Donnell, Sean Gascoine, John Henderson, Greenan and Maher made it a 1-14 to 1-9 win at full-time.