Irish international basketball player Dayna Finn, a former student at St. Louis CS, Kiltimagh, pictured ahead of the 2021/2022 Pinergy All-Ireland Schools Cup finals, which will take place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght from January 18 to January 20. The Under 16 boys team from her former school will be in action next Thursday in the B Cup final. Photo: INPHO / Dan Sheridan

All roads lead to Tallaght for Mayo school

Excitement is building across the country this week as students and school teams around Ireland are charged up and ready for action ahead of the upcoming Pinergy All-Ireland Basketball Schools Cup finals, which take place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght next week (January 18 to 20 inclusive).

Among them are the Under 16 boys of St. Louis CS, Kiltimagh, who take on Crescent Comprehensive, Limerick, in the B Cup final at 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, January 20.

The Kiltimagh school are no strangers to bringing home All-Ireland and national league titles, with the Under 16 girls winning the cup four years ago, and this Under 16 boys side look more than capable of following in the footsteps of the girls given the quality that is in the side and the strength of underage basketball in the town of Kiltimagh, where a lot of work has been put in over the years.

This boys team is also chasing a cup and league double and they will return to Tallaght on the weekend of February 4 for the quarterfinal and semi-final stages of the league.

However, the focus this week will be on the cup and the Kiltimagh school have produced some excellent basketball in both their league and cup games in what has been a strange season for everyone involved in basketball following the lifting of the lockdown after 18 months. Fortunately, with the occasional exception, all the school games have gone ahead.

This particular St. Louis team can bring the silverware home as they are a particularly well balanced side with a strong physical edge to their game.

They played St. Gerald’s College, Castlebar, in the regional final of the league in a game that needed overtime to find a winner, and it was a measure of the team's sport and character that they came from 11 points down to win that game by two in what was a high tempo game of quality basketball.

Belfast school OLSPCK provided the opposition for St. Louis in the quarterfinal but in the end the Kiltimagh school had to much quality for the Belfast boys, winning by 33-18, while Gortnor Abbey were unable to live with the St. Louis boys in the All-Ireland semi-final.

St. Louis have a good balance to the side, with a number of players who have hit double figures in both league and championship. Defensively they are strong and are well able to handle the pressure of a press game and also know how to put pressure on the opposition with their own full court press.

Their biggest issue may be coping with the venue and the occasion, but they have gathered sufficient experience and if they can keep their heads, they know how to win tight games.

The St. Louis Under 16 boys team pictured with coach Amy Hopkins.

Coach Amy Hopkins said the team has put in the hours and it is all about producing it on the day.

She explained: “They have won the regional league with a good game against St. Gerald’s and I think that will stand to them as that was a pressure game, but we know we can expect a hard game from the Limerick lads where basketball is very strong. Our boys are well prepared for a big game though.”

Oisin Mulderrig, Darragh McGovern, Oisin McNicholas and Fionnan Burke have been shooting the lights out in their games and if they can catch fire this day week, then Kiltimagh will return with the silverware – but they need to get into this game from the tip-off as this Limerick side will be well prepared.

Earlier this school year Pinergy was announced as the sponsors of the All-Ireland Schools Cup and speaking ahead of the finals, head of marketing, David Slattery, said: “It’s been yet another thrilling year of schools cup action and we’re really looking forward to seeing all of the Pinergy All-Ireland Schools Cup finals get underway next week at the arena. The level of skill and talent on show so far this year has been absolutely fantastic, and we’ve no doubt there will be more thrills in store at next week’s finals.”

Conor Meany, commercial manager at Basketball Ireland, added: “After a thrilling weekend of National Cup semi-final action in Cork recently, all attention now turns to the Pinergy All-Ireland Schools Cup finals in Tallaght next week. Pinergy has been a great supporter of basketball over the last number of years and we’re really looking forward to next week’s games, which are sure to produce some fantastic and high-energy basketball.”

As well as being able to watch live streams of every game on the Basketball Ireland YouTube channel (, you can follow all the action from this year’s competition on Basketball Ireland’s website ( You can also find out more about Pinergy’s support of the competition on their social channels across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.