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Murphy's on ball as Neasáin march on

PobailScoil Neasáin 29, Coláiste Pobail Setanta 19 - Situated just over a mile away from the Shamrock Rovers ground, the excellent facilities at Tallaght Leisure Centre provided the venue for yesterday's All Ireland School's U16C semi-final.

Coláiste Pobail Setanta were hoping to make it a double at the south Dublin venue following their U19's 46-39 victory over Avondale Community College, which saw brothers Carl and Venz Pagyonan in fine form for the Clonee school with 34 points between them.

And while Colin Duffy's U16s made a good go of things, there was no containing the inside threat of Gabriel Ogundipe on the day.

Pobailscoil Neasáin's big inside man benefited from some excellent distribution from his team-mates with patience very much the key word in their 10-point win.

Pulling the strings from the base of the court was Kevin Murphy who, at 14, belied his relatively young years to turn in a terrific display.

Murphy, not surprisingly, could not contain his excitement afterwards and while Coláiste Pobail Setanta did their best to contain the mobile point guard it was to prove a frustrating exercise on the day.

Nonetheless, the Baldoyle school had to bide their time before a foul on Donnacha Butler after good work from Ogundipe saw Butler convert one of his free throws.

And while Farouq Raheem rebounded well in defence for Colaiste Pobail Setanta, Pobail Scoil Neasáin gradually began to open out a lead.

First Ogundipe, after converting a free throw, landed a basket from the side of the court before Butler popped in a terrific score.

Ogundipe then found an opening to continue his side's excellent run before Paul Shannon dropped in another basket from the right to move the Baldoyle school into double figures.

Setanta's captain Urosh Kutijevac, was to finally open his team's account from the free-throw line, but Ogundipe's excellent eye for a score put Pobailscoil Neasáin up 12-2 at the end of the quarter.



Rallied

Pobail Scoil Neasáin added three more baskets shortly after the resumption, but Setanta rallied late in the second quarter with back-to-back baskets from Kutijevac and Ruari O'Sullivan.

Fittingly, given his excellent work throughout the game, Murphy landed a basket shortly before the interval to advance the score along to 20-6 in Pobailscoil Neasáin's favour.

Setanta made a determined charge in the second half, with Kutijevac picking off some good baskets and O'Sullivan, Raheem and Francesco Pereira also pitching in.

Nonetheless, Pobailscoil Neasáin's excellent link-up play saw them prevail in the end with six of the side making their mark on the team sheet.

PobailScoil Neasáin: Gabriel Ogundipe, Sean Smith, Donnacha Butler, Phil Roache, Darren Cooper, Kevin Murphy, Paul Shannon, Adam Cox, Aaron Kelly, Matt Deegan.

Coláiste Pobail Setanta: David Dubik, Aaron Vodopi, Ruair O'Sullivan, Leon Balfe, Urosh Kutijevac, George Chis, Alan Cheng, Morris Cheng, Farouq Raheem, Ian McDermott, Gavin Acres, Francesco Pereira.