MEGAPREVIEW: Hula Hoops Men's National Cup Final

MEGAPREVIEW: Hula Hoops Men's National Cup Final
By Balls Team
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DBS Éanna v Griffith College Templeogue (Saturday, National Basketball Arena, 8pm)

Also broadcast live on TG4 from 7.45pm .



One of the most-anticipated games of the weekend sees the meeting of DBS Éanna and Griffith College Templeogue in a huge Dublin derby Pat Duffy Cup final. 

Éanna have just been promoted from the Men’s Division One and are flying high in the Super League this year, despite being the newcomers. This is their first ever Cup final at this level. 

Templeogue meanwhile, have been here and done that many times, most recently winning the Cup title in 2018. They are aiming to win 3 National Cups in 5 years. 




Éanna – Darren McGovern


Templeogue – Mark Keenan 




Last Cup Final: This is their first final

League Record: 9 wins and five losses 

Leading Scorer: Stefan Zecevic (20.6 ppg)




Last Cup Final: 2018 (winners)


League Record: 9 wins and six 

Leading Scorer: Lorcan Murphy (18.1 ppg)




Templeogue Eanna
PPG 84 (2nd) 81 (4th)
Points Against 76 (5th) 75 (2nd)
Rebounds 42.5 (4th) 43.5 (3rd)
Assists 18.5 (3rd) 22.4 (2nd)
Steals 10.1 (2nd) 9.7 (4th)
2 fga 46.2 (5th) 41.5 (9th)
2 fg% 48.5% (9th) 52.3% (4th)
3 fga 23.7 (6th) 25.9 (5th)
3 fg% 33.5% (3rd) 31.1% (5th)
Fta 23.4 (1st 20.3 (5th)
FT% 65.8% (6th) 64.4% (7th)


Road to the Final


Round 1: Éanna had a BYE in this game. 

Quarter final: Away game vs Belfast Star, Éanna win78-63. 

Perhaps the performance of the season by Éanna as they went to Belfast and won convincingly, something that no other team has done this season in that court.

Semi-final: Neptune Stadium Cork vs Tralee Warriors, Éanna win 78 – 63. 

It wasn’t always pretty, but a defensive masterclass took Tralee out of their game and booked Éanna their first ever Cup final berth.


Key players in Cup so far: Stefan Zecevic (Serbia), Joshua Wilson (USA), Mark Reynolds (IRE)



Round 1: Home vs UCD Marian, Temple win 82-62. 

An incredible first half offensive performance by Lorcan Murphy (33 points including a season high five three pointers) helped end UCD Marian’s quest for three finals in a row.

Quarter final: Home vs Moycullen, Temple win 95-82: 

Despite missing Jason Killeen through injury, Lorcan Murphy was again the hero as he scored 29 points for Templeogue.

Semi final: Neptune Stadium vs Neptune, Temple win at the death: 78-75. 

Despite not playing their best basketball, Templeogue showed their championship resolve and pulled out the big plays late to overcome Neptune.

Key players in Cup so far: Lorcan Murphy (IRE), Jason Killeen (IRE) (particularly in semi final)


Previous meetings of the teams this season

December 12th, Nord Anglia (Templeogue home court) Templeogue win 101-87  

Perhaps the best game in the Men’s Super League so far this season. Both teams scored well, and it was end to end throughout with the lead changing hands all the way through until the closing two minutes. Stefan Zecevic was a matchup nightmare for Templeogue and Joshua Wilson had one of his best scoring performances of the season. Templeogue had success inside, and Jason Killeen was dominant in the key top scoring for them with 26 points, while other big man (USA) Darren Townes had 15 points. Ultimately, it was a late barrage of three pointers from Neil Randolph that separated the teams.



Éanna: This has been a dream season for Éanna in their first year back in the Super League. They are unlikely to be satisfied with just reaching the final and they will have a huge support base behind them. They have the best player on the court in Stefan Zecevic, but will he get the support required to win them the trophy?

Templeogue: Are seeking their third cup in five years. Templeogue have the championship DNA. Their league form has been patchy at times despite the level of talent they have at their disposal. They will hope that their big match experience both on the court and on the sideline will get them the Pat Duffy Cup.



Jason Killeen v Mark Reynolds

When looking at why this Eanna team has been so successful, the addition of Mark Reynolds has been the answer. Reynolds, the former Irish international, has been a steady inside presence all season for Eanna on the inside and gives them a presence on both ends of the floor that exudes calm and confidence. The matchup with Killeen is a tough one for Eanna as Reynolds is a more traditional four man than a five like Killeen. In the first meeting between the teams Jason shot 12/16 on his way to 26 points. Killeen has had a mixed season dealing with injuries but he’s a man for the big occasion and slowing him down will be a top priority for Darren McGovern. 



Two athletic but very different players Murphy and Zecevic will both be central to their teams on Saturday night. Murphy has been there and done it on this stage before and if he can get out and running there’s no one in the country who can slow him down. This season he has added more outside shooting, but it remains inconsistent, the challenge for Templeogue tends to be a lack of space between Murphy, Townes and Killeen in the half court. Zecevic is also incredibly athletic but also has bigger size in terms of strength and height. Stephen James started with the assignment in the league game, but Murphy was quickly moved across to try and limit the Serbs offensive rebounding. Zecevic doesn’t force anything and seems to come away with his 20-25 points regardless of what happens. If Templeogue can’t find an answer for him it could be a long night for the men in red.  



Both men’s semi-finals were summed up by poor outside shooting and defences on top. In the league now the top teams are brilliant at taking away space around the key and packing their defense in. It gives outside opportunities and the game can be as simple as who can make more. Neil Randolph was the difference between the teams in the first meeting as he hit six three pointers on his way to 23 points. Lynch has the same role for Eanna and if he can hit shots the whole game opens for Eanna’s stars. In wins this season in the league Lynch averages 10.5 points but in losses he manages just 1.4 points so if he can knock down some shots on Saturday it would give Eanna a massive boost.



Both teams are good at packing the lane and taking away easy opportunities around the basket. The team that shoots better from the perimeter should have the upper hand. In intense finals whistles from the referees can often play a big role in the outcome. Templeogue have superior depth and ability to deal with foul trouble so Eanna will need to ensure Mark Reynolds doesn’t pick up any quick ones. 

Lastly, look to the Americans to see who’s able to make a bigger impact on the scoreboard. Darren Townes isn’t having a great scoring year, but his size and athleticism should cause issues for Marko Tomic and Dan Heaney. On the other end Joshua Wilson can make big shots but can also be passive at times. Both teams have exciting American guards coming off the bench, but both are streaky scorers too. Whoever gets most out of their American duo could be collecting the trophy on Saturday night.


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