IT was a day when bodies were pushed to the limit as old rivals Presentation Bray and St Fintan's locked horns for a place in the All-Ireland schools league final.
Presentation Bray 60
St Fintan's High School 52
It was a day when bodies were pushed to the limit as old rivals Presentation Bray and St Fintan's locked horns for a place in the All-Ireland schools league final.
The two had met in the decider last year when Fintan's had captured the crown and for a while it looked as if Michael Westbrooks' team might do the double over the Wicklow seasiders.
Going into this game at the Oblate Hall, both teams had won their earlier pool games against Templeogue College and Ard Scoil Rathangan with many people fancying Fintan's to progress after an impressive league campaign.
But Bray's offensive rebounding was to prove crucial in the final quarter as Fintan's struggled to make their baskets.
And Bray were able to wind the clock down with a succession of scores from the free-throw line to set up a date with St Malachy's of Belfast.
After defeating Templeogue College (their second win of the day), Bray had only half an hour to recover before their crucial game with Fintan's. And with Killester's super league panel member Andy Colfer picking off some good baskets early on, Bray needed scores from Marc Lennon and Andy Bartley to edge in front 20-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Bray for the most part struggled to make their baskets with Gary Barron, Conor McCracken and Karl McGovern finding the target at the other end to leave the Sutton boys just four points in arrears. However, with Luke Gorman showing well for Bray in the final minute, Marie O'Toole's boys had opened up a 32-23 lead at the break.
The third quarter saw both teams trade two baskets before an eight-point run from Fintan's, which included back-to-back three-pointers from Barron, edged the northsiders a point in front.
However, having being rested for much of the second quarter, Marc Lennon was to change the course of the game with a series of up-court solos. He twice set up baskets for Luke Gorman, with Lorcan Murphy (pictured) then popping up with a basket to leave Bray 45-42 up heading into the final period.
And while Colfer was to score off a rebound to bring Fintan's within a point, it was the closest they got to Bray, with Lennon and Bartley laying up in successive attacks.
Some good offensive rebounding from Bartley then saw the Irish international convert two from the line and while McCracken was to end Fintan's dry spell, another sublime piece of play from Lennon was to see Bray forge ahead once more. And with both Barron and Dylan Kessie fouled out for Fintan's (Luke Gorman also picked up a fifth for Bray), Fintan's interest in the game ended as Bray converted a series of frees to win out.