Tralee Imperials Win U16B All-Ireland Title

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Tralee Imperials won an All-Ireland Under 16B title in Dublin at the weekend. Martin Conway reports on a great weekend for the club…

The victorious Tralee Imperials Under 16B team.

Tralee Imperials headed to Dublin at the weekend for the All Ireland U16B Girls Finals.

This has become a yearly outing for this team having gone to the same competition last year and the U14 Girls the previous two years.

This fantastic bunch of girls believed from the start of the season that this was their year and they overcame every obstacle on the way to acheive their goal.

Continued below…


We knew going up that we had four  finals ahead of us because if you lose any game your chance is gone. Our first game was on Saturday morning at 11-15 in the Carroll Arena in Coolock and our opponents were Meteors from Dublin.

We knew that a good start was important and we raced into a 16-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

From then on we knew we had control of the game. Meteors stepped it up a bit in the second quarter but we matched them basket for basket and only lost 9-8 which left us with an 8 point lead at halftime 24-16.

We controlled the second half in the same way and won the third quarter 9-8 and lost the last quarter 7-6 to hold on to our 8 point lead at the final buzzer and that was our first group game won.

Our second group game was against St. Colms, this was the team that beat us in the final in Antrim in the U14 in 2016 so we knew it was going to be a tough encounter.

We started off brightly again and led 6-3 at the end of the first quarter. Scores were very hard to get with both defences working very hard but we managed to win each quarter 3-2 in the second to lead 9-5 at halftime.

We won the third 7-6 and the fourth 5-2  to give us a 21-13 win and top the group and straight through to the semi final at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning in St. Davids school in Artane to play Tullamore.

Having seen them on Saturday we knew this was going to be tough and for the first time  this weekend we found ourselves behind at the end of the first 7-6.

We knew we had to pull away from them and we put in three massive quarters and won them 10-7, 8-6 and 5-1 to win 32-21 and be in the final at 3-15 back in the KUBS arena in Coolock.

This was a final that will live long in the memory of everyone that was fortunate enough to be there.

We started well and ended the first quarter 6-4 ahead, the second quarter finished level at 6-6 to leave us with a slender two point lead at halftime.

We won the third quarter 6-4 to give us a four point advantage going in to the last, but we could not increase our lead and found ourselves three up 25-22 with less than a minute to play, they came down the court and scored a massive three pointer to level up the game and bring it to a three minute period of overtime.

Our girls looked tired walking off the court but we picked them up and told them this was their three minutes to finally get their hands on the medal they wanted.

They responded brilliantly and went out and put in a three minute period of play after four tough matches, honestly I don’t know where the energy came from.

We won the extra period 7-4 to be crowned All Ireland U16B Girls Champions. The scenes of jubilation and celebration that followed showed how much this meant to these girls.

We received the medals and Cup and headed for home where we were met by members of Tralee Imperials Club in O’Donnells Mounthawk for a celebration.  Congratulations to everyone involved.

Team: Mary O’Connell, Rachel Kilgallen, Rebecca Conway, Aoife Dillane, Abi Casey, Lara Flynn, Ciara Rath, Emily O’Donoghue, Sarah Barret, Eimear Ni Shuilleabhain, Caoihe Leahy, Muire Kingston. Coach Martin Conway, Team Manager Martha Kilgallen.

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