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Massive Win For UCC Glanmire In The Hula Hoops National Cup

Massive Win For UCC Glanmire In The Hula Hoops National Cup
By Balls Team

It was a huge and eventful weekend of basketball action with a number of massive fixtures in both the Hula Hoops National Cup and the SuperLeague. The women's cup champions were dethroned, DBS Éanna emerged as the only undefeated team in the men's SuperLeague, and that's just the start of it.

Here's our recap of all the weekend's basketball.

HULA HOOPS NATIONAL CUP RECAP

Ambassador UCC Glanmire were unstoppable on Saturday evening as they dethroned reigning Hula Hoops Paudie O’Connor National Cup champions, Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics, with a stunning 101-84 point win.

Stalwarts Aine McKenna and Casey Grace led the charge for a Glanmire side that were firing on all cylinders on the night. Americans Shrita Parker and Tatum Neubert hit their stride early on to see Glanmire into a 54-42 point lead at the half, with sharpshooting from Louise Scannell and Parker helping to keep the scoreboard ticking over. A phenomenal display from Liffey’s Kylee Smith – which saw her finish the game out with 30 points – along with the determination of the O’Connor sisters, Aine and Ailbhe, just wasn’t enough for the Cup holders though, as Glanmire kept the momentum down the stretch and - led by the experienced hands of McKenna and Grace - saw the win home in front of a delighted home crowd.

Speaking afterwards, head coach Mark Scannell stated: "I’m delighted for the girls. I thought they were wonderful today. It has taken our Americans a little while to settle, but they showed today that they belong. I thought when we needed real leaders, Aine [McKenna] stepped up and she carried us over. It’s very hard to beat a champion and Liffey have been great champions. The home court advantage was huge for us today. I thought last night at training there was just a spark there though and thanks be to God we’re through to the next round and our season is alive.”

The second preliminary game meanwhile saw DCU Mercy into the next round of the Cup as they overcame Maree in Dublin 72-62 in a thriller. The game was neck-in-neck throughout the opening two quarters, with the return of Irish basketball legend, Michelle Fahy, to the court for Maree one of the main talking points of the game. DCU led by just two at the half, 37-35, but a huge third and fourth quarter from Sarah Woods and Ashley Russell – who combined for 43 points in total - helped edge Mercy out further in front. Despite a big 20-point display from Maree’s Claire Rockall and a great performance from Fahy, the 2018 Cup champions held their nerve to win out by 10 in the end.

Over in the Hula Hoops Pat Duffy National Cup, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors laid down a firm statement of intent on Friday night as they powered through their Kerry derby with Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin 60-83 to tee up a quarter final showdown with Pyrobel Killester in December.

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The Tralee men were dominant from the off, with early scores seeing them into a 0-7 lead by the midway point of the first, but Killorglin were only getting warmed up and by the end of the quarter, had brought the game back to just one point 13-14 thanks to sharpshooting from Allan Thomas. A big second quarter from the Warriors followed with Jonathan Lawton, Paul Dick and Kieran Donaghy leading the charge to edge them 10 up at the half, 31-41. Momentum stayed with Tralee in the third quarter, with Fergal O’Sullivan knocking down some big scores and Dick, Donaghy and Ivan Bogdanovic all getting in on the action. Despite good work from Killorglin down the stretch, the visitors held on to win 60-83 in the end.

Speaking afterwards, Kieran Donaghy stated: “The derby element added to the pressure. They beat us in the first game of the league last year and we heard about it for a long time, so we were all a bit edgy going in. They were coming in under the radar and had a few new guys, so this was going to be a big game for them. We were coming in after two big wins so I was a bit worried as to where our head space was at, but we gave a good performance today.”

Elsewhere, Belfast Star also advanced to the next round of the Cup with a 75-90 point road win over Maree in Galway. American Ben Marello and CJ Fulton combined for 36 points in Star’s win as they opened up a 41-50 point lead at half time. Despite strong displays from Darin Johnson and Eoin Rockall of Maree, who finished with 22 and 21 points respectively, a big second half from Star, including 13 points from Liam Pettigrew, saw them home to victory.

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“I’m very pleased with a road win,” said head coach Adrian Fulton. “I thought it was a very good team performance. Maree are an experienced team and are really tough, particularly at home so we are delighted. Ben Marello was terrific tonight. To arrive in late on Thursday night and come in and play to the level he did is a great effort. It’s been a challenging week with Delaney getting hurt and our preparations weren’t exactly straightforward. The players deserve a huge amount of credit. We have been getting better defensively over the past number of weeks and tonight was an improvement again. We had a great scoring spread with lots of very significant contributions.”

In Dublin, Griffith College Templeogue had the better of UCD Marian in their derby clash, running out 82-62 point winners off the back of an incredible 33-point display from Lorcan Murphy. Templeogue were in control from the off, putting in a big first quarter to open up a 26-17 lead and didn’t look back from there. Despite big games from Marian’s Scott Kinevane and Mike Garrow, Templeogue held on to win in the end. The second Dublin derby saw DCU Saints overcome Abbey Seals Dublin Lions 68-57. Saints held the lead from the opening quarter, and pushed on to a 39-22 point lead at the half. Good scoring from Martins Provizors and Mike Bonaparte kept them ahead for the remainder of the game, despite the best efforts of Lions' Finn Hughes and Conroy Baltimore.

Just one more Hula Hoops Cup game remains this weekend as Limerick Celtics welcome Portlaoise Panthers to St Munchin’s at 1.30pm on Sunday in the Women’s Division One Cup. The remainder of the weekend sees all of the men’s teams back to National League action, with some big games in store. Warriors hit the road to face Killester in a prelude to that big Cup clash in a few weeks’ time, while one of the other big games of the weekend sees unbeaten Neptune on the road to Griffith College Templeogue on bank holiday Monday.

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SUPERLEAGUE RECAP

DBS Éanna are the last ones standing after another action-packed weekend of Men’s Super League action, as they won out 81-75 against Maree on Monday afternoon to be the only undefeated team remaining in the league following Neptune’s loss to Templeogue.

A big fourth quarter performance from Éanna was ultimately what got them over the line as the Dubliners were trailing Maree for the first three quarters, though not much separated the teams throughout. A superb 37-point game from Maree’s Darin Johnson caused multiple problems for the Éanna defence and despite good work from Stefan Zecevic and Marko Tomic, Maree still held a three-point lead going into the last. A big push from the hosts in the fourth though saw them finally get out in front with some breathing space, and with Zecevic leading the scoring, along with good work from Daniel Heaney, Éanna kept their winning run intact on a final score line of 81-75.

Speaking afterwards, a relieved Darren McGovern stated: “They made it really difficult for us, we missed a lot of shots. We didn’t play well, we grinded that win out. Their American was brilliant today - he had 37 points, he hit everything and I thought we were doing a good job on him! He just couldn’t miss. We were down all game, we’d get ahead, they’d come back and go ahead - it kind of felt like we were climbing uphill all the time. We struggled. We couldn’t hit a shot until the fourth quarter, but we took off then - Stefan had a put-back dunk, Dan had a four-point play and that set the tone. We were lucky at the end, we had some big stops and big plays, but we pulled out the win and I’m very happy."

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Griffith College Templeogue delivered Coughlan C&S Neptune their first loss of the season on Monday afternoon meanwhile, running out 91-79 point winners in the end. Just three separated the teams at the half, Templeogue leading 49-46, while some big three pointers from Spaniard Xabier Arriaga for Templeouge began to edge them ahead in the third quarter, 66-60. Big plays in the fourth, including nice work from Darren Townes and some big defensive stops from Jason Killeen, saw Templeogue hold out to win in the end.

Speaking afterwards head coach Mark Keenan stated: “I’m feeling great - that was a double weekend for us with the Cup game and I was worried a little about how much energy we would have after Saturday’s game, but I’m delighted. It was a good game of basketball, it was nip and tuck all the way. But we just had maybe experience and composure down the stretch to get that little gap in the last two minutes. The guys made a great effort over the weekend. It brings Neptune a game back, and it keeps us right up there in the mix."

Elsewhere, Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin managed to hold out under extreme pressure from Belfast Star down the stretch to secure an 81-79 point win on Sunday afternoon. Killorglin led the visitors from the off, opening up an early 24-13 first quarter lead, and pushing that out to a 43-32 point margin by the half. Good scoring from Allan Thomas and Pranus Skurdauskas kept them ahead as the third quarter ticked down, to see them lead 66-54 going into the last. Star were not going down without a fight though, and Ben Marello, Keelan Cairns and CJ Fulton all hit some big scores in the fourth as they began to chip away at the lead. Their hard work soon paid off as with just under 40 seconds to play, they had cut the margin back to two points. Despite their best efforts to secure a winning basket though, time ran out and Killorglin held on to win 81-79 in the end.

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Garvey’s Tralee Warriors picked up a big road win in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, running out 63-91 point winners over Pyrobel Killester in Clontarf. Killester started the game stronger, opening up a 20-15 point lead at the end of the first, thanks to good work from Tomas Fernandez and Ciaran Roe. Tralee bounced back in style in the second quarter though, and with Jonathan Lawton leading the charge, drove into a 34-41 point lead at the half. Warriors stayed in control in the second half, with Darragh O’Hanlon and Keith Jumper hitting some key scores to see them comfortable 63-91 point winners in the end.

UCD Marian just edged their Dublin derby with DCU Saints, winning out 75-73 in an extremely tight affair at UCD on Sunday. DCU Saints held a narrow edge in the first half, holding a 21-26 point lead at the end of the first, and a 43-44 point lead at the half off the back of a big 31-point game from Mike Bonaparte, coupled with good scoring from Graham Brannelly and Martins Provizors. A big third quarter from UCD followed, with Mike Garrow, Aidan Dunne and Barry Drumm leading the charge, but Saints came right back into it in the fourth quarter to tee up a thrilling finale – Marian just holding on to win by two in the end.

Down in Galway meanwhile, Abbey Seals Dublin Lions came close to their first win of the season on Monday afternoon, but eventually lost out to hosts, Moycullen, 89-83. The Dubliners led the game for the first three quarters off the back of good scoring from Conroy Baltimore and Romonn Nelson, to see them lead 66-70 going into the last. A massive fourth quarter from Moycullen though – that saw them bag 16 points in the opening five minutes – sent them into a 12 point lead and they didn’t look back from there, with Paul Kelly, Grant Olsson and Daniel Vila leading the charge and despite big pressure from Lions down the stretch, the home side held on to secure the win.

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