Bord Gais Neptune 66-84 UCC Demons
UCC Demons recorded a resounding 84-66 victory over Cork rivals Bord Gais Neptune in the semi-final of the Men’s SuperLeague Cup.
Neptune had suffered a tough defeat to their bitter rivals over the Christmas period but came flying out of the blocks here, racing into an 8-1 lead early in the first quarter.
Ger Noonan was clearly fired up for this encounter, urging the fans to get behind his side as Neptune stretched the lead to 12-3. Demons responded quickly through captain Shane Coughlan.
Noonan was in dazzling form at the outset, but despite the brighter opening from Neptune, Demons managed to keep the margin to one point as Niall O’ Reilly found his range from outside to leave the score at 26-25 at the end of the first quarter.
Demons were a rejuvenated side in the second, dismantling the Neptune attacking threat, while Coughlan and Carlton Cuff contributed some big scores to give them a seven-point lead at the mid-way point in the quarter.
Ron Thomson then took up the mantle for Neptune, contributing some vital scores to bring Neptune back to within four.
Ciaran O’Sullivan responded with three for Demons. An engrossing first half period ended with little to choose between the two sides, Demons leading 45-41.
Neptune got back on top at the beginning of the third thanks to some fine shooting from Michael McGinn.
But Demon’s went on another scoring run while Neptune floundered in their attempts to claw back the gap. Demons held a clear 69-56 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Neptune’s day was quickly turning into a nightmare. Trailing by 17 points, Mark Scannell lost the influential Ron Thomson to an ankle injury and soon afterwards had Ger Noonan fouled out.
A visibly-injured Thomson returned for the closing stages, but at that point the damage had been done.
11890 Killester 73-75 UL Eagles
UL Eagles have reached the final of the Men’s SuperLeague National Cup after a 75-73 overtime victory over 11890 Killester.
In a game which hung in the balance throughout, it was former Killester coach Mark Keenan, released in the summer having guided Killester to unprecedented success, who will now take his UL side to the National Basketball Arena in two weeks time.
A blistering first quarter saw UL take the game to the Dublin side with Jason Killeen and Robert Taylor helping them to a 15-10 lead.
However, Eoin Chubb fired a superb three-pointer on the buzzer to bring Killester to within two at the end of the first, 15-13.
The second quarter was similarly close, neither side managing to take charge of proceedings in what was a nip-and-tuck affair. UL slowly managed to eke out a lead and had a 33-27 half time advantage.
Jermaine Turner was instrumental in the Killester fight-back in the third.
Dramatically, as the game ticked towards the buzzer, Matt Hall shot a huge three to bring UL back to within four, 49-45 with ten minutes left to play.
UL’s tenacity showed no signs of abating, but still Killester appeared the more likely of the two.
To their credit, UL didn’t know when to lie down and soon they had the Killester lead down to four. Scott Kinevane levelled the scores with a minute on the clock.
Both sides tried to win it late on, but Robert Taylor was short before the buzzer so it finished 64-64 and overtime beckoned.
The overtime period was every bit as dramatic, with both sides looking capable of winning. In the end it was left to Taylor, who atoned for his miss in regulation time to secure a memorable win.