March 16, 2012
De La Salle's winning streak ended in the Leinster U-14 Division 3 final against a very strong Gormanston side. De La Salle's Under 14 A team had previously won all their matches in the competition, including a 5-1 victory against Terenure in the semi-final, but unfortunately were outplayed by their skilful opposition.
The game started off with Aras Mahdy facing off against Luke Carroll. Umpiring this match was Luke Farrell of De La Salle. Thanks to some well placed shots, Carroll took the initial lead, but Mahdy was soon on his heels. There was little between them. Carroll was within points of winning when Mahdy ferociously fought back, winning several points. Despite this, Carroll deservedly took the winning point at 30-28.
The next match saw Cathal Swan taking on Mark Donegan. Donegan got off to an ideal start with some smashes across the court. Swan rallied well but failed to get the finishing touches. He worked hard towards the end but was too far behind to make an impact, which inevitably resulted in 30-8 win for Donegan.
Two matches behind, De La Salle was desperate for a win. The third singles brought Stephen Tian to play off with Henrique Varanoa with umpire, Michael Fitzgerald of De La Salle. Throughout most of the game, Tian maintained a heavy lead with smashes that seemed to wear down Varanoa. However, Varanoa didn't lose confidence as he battled impressively to a 30-24 win.
With hopes riding on Ben O'Connell's singles, he set out against Dahun Lin to keep De La Salle in the game. Lin broke away from the very start, forcing O'Connell to chase him. Though O'Connell played well, Lin proved his worth by securing the final for Gormanston in a hard fought victory, leading 30-20.
The game lost, De La Salle was still determined to make a mark. The doubles began with Mahdy and O'Connell against Carroll and Donegan. But the exhausted De La Salle players could not claim a win; the invigorated Gormanston players were too hard to stop. And neither could Swan and Tian achieve a win, their opponents, Varanoa and Lin, leading the game throughout even though Swan and Tian worked hard for a good result.
This meant that Gormanston had won 6-0, taking the Leinster Final Trophy home, exuberant. But though they had lost, De La Salle was pleased to have come so far, their thoughts on next year's championship.
Cillian Mc Ginnity, Under 14 B Team and Supporter