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Basketball: Dalkey girls aim for net gains in Cup

It's that time of the year again as teams across the country do battle in the All-Ireland Schools Cup which always produces plenty of terrific matches throughout the course of the season.

And one schools team hoping for a good run in the Under-19 A cup is Loreto Dalkey, who under Steven Cahill have been making great strides in the sport.

The success of the junior team has had a positive knock-on effect with more than 60 girls trying out for the first years and from the under-16 team, Aoife Whelan is certainly one to look out for having made this year's Leinster Development squad.



honoured

The Southside school was also honoured at national level with both Ann Donnelly and Emma Tarbett called up to represent an Irish under-18 team that toured the States in the summer.

Both are available for the U19A team that received a bye in the first round. Dalkey have been putting in plenty of practice in the meantime and chalked up a good win over Foxrock in a preseason friendly.

And Cahill is hopeful of a good campaign this time round.

"We probably need to improve a bit under the boards in terms of our shooting but our guards and post players are very strong. We retain all of our starting five and I have two former Coláiste íosagáin players, Emer Huggard and Ruth Rutledge, helping me this year, which is a great boost

"The turnout we had for the first years was the most we have ever had which is down the good reputation the sport has in the school."

Another emerging school looking to do well is Loreto High School Beaufort under Neville Charles, but they have been handed a very tough draw in the U16A Cup against reigning champions, Coláiste íosagáin.

íosagáin recorded a terrific win over St Joseph's of Abbeyfeale to claim victory in the final last January at the National Basketball Arena and with Cliodhna Mairtín available again, the Booterstown girls will take some stopping.

But Beaufort will be looking to the likes of point guard Ciara Milroy (who was on this year's Irish under-16 development squad) and their two shooters, Siobhan O'Neill and Shauna Garvan, to mount a challenge against Marie O'Toole's team.

The game with íosagáin forms part of a double header on October 2 at the Coláiste Eoin gym, with O'Toole then leading Presentation Bray against St Conleth's in the first round of the u19a immediately afterwards.

There is good history between these two teams with Bray edging out Conleth's in the Dublin Boys U16B final two years ago only for Conleth's to overturn that defeat when claiming the All Ireland Cup a few years later at the Arena.



LADDER

And Conleth's have continued their ascent with two very credible displays against Coláiste éanna and St Malachy's of Belfast in the play-offs of the league for a place in the semi-final last season.

On that occasion Peter Herron and Liam Purcell formed a formidable partnership and again they will be locking horns with long-time adversaries Emmet O'Toole and Neil Randolph in a game that hopefully will live up to the qualities of past encounters between the two.