Basketball

Revenge Takers & History Makers: A Thrilling Weekend Of Irish Basketball

Revenge Takers & History Makers: A Thrilling Weekend Of Irish Basketball

What a weekend of action! We saw a wonderful advertisement for Irish basketball over three thrilling days of sport at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, with the sell-out crowds present getting their money's worth. 11 finals took place at all levels of the Hula Hoops National Cup over the course of the weekend, with some thrilling clashes at all the way through.

Without doubt the two main events on show were the men's and women's Hula Hoops National Cup finals, with both matches living up to the billing.

On Saturday we saw the clash of familiar foes UCD Marian and Pyrobel Killester, two teams who have had some titanic clashes in recent years. The pair met in last year's Super League decider in one of the most iconic games of recent memory, with a late Mike Garrow free-throw handing Marian their first title in 40 years.

This meeting was no less dramatic. After an incredibly hard fought battle, Killester would emerge winners on a scoreline of 66-63. Just like their Super League decider, this one would come right down to the wire. Ultimately, a Kieran O’Brien rebound and basket right at the death was enough to ensure the victory.

Marian put together a strong run after the halftime break to build a nine point lead, and it looked like they were on their way to a first National Cup since 2011.

Killester were not going to let the game slip, however, and went on a 12-0 run late on to get themselves back into contention. With nothing between the teams entering the closing stretch, the momentum swung back and forth.

Ultimately, a massive three pointer from Royce Williams put Killester in a position to close out the game.

Advertisement

Killester head coach Brian O'Malley has been with the team for four years now, and he summed up just what it meant to all involved.

Advertisement

While the Women's Hula Hoops National Cup final featured less late drama, it was equally high in quality. Courtyard Liffey Celtics would make history by claiming their first ever National Cup title, after a convincing 91-66 over Singleton SuperValu Brunell.

It was the hot shooting hands of the Liffey Celtics' players that would propel them to the victory, as they continued to make three pointers at an impressive efficiency all game. While Brunell made a real go of clawing back a 13-point deficit entering the final quarter, Liffey Celtics would ultimately close out the game in a comfortable fashion.

It was a game that capped off a meteoric rise for both of these teams who faced off in the Division 1 League final only eight years ago.

Advertisement

Ireland international Sorcha Tiernan was named MVP after a 22-point outing, and she said this result will go a long way to healing the wounds left by defeats in previous years.

In all this was a wonderful weekend of Irish basketball, with an incredibly high standard of play across all three days. It is a sport that is on the rise in this country, as evidenced by the sell-out crowds at the National Arena taking in the action.

With the Hula Hoops Cup action finished for the remainder of the season, the focus will now turn to the remainder of the Super League season.

Gary Connaughton

You may also like