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UL overcame DCU Saints after a captivating Nivea For Men's SuperLeague

Updated: Saturday, 24 Mar 2012 10:18

2012 champions UL
2012 champions UL

UL overcame Northern Conference winners DCU Saints 70-56 after a captivating Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague final at the National Basketball Arena.

Eagles have been a revelation in 2012, surprising everyone by lifting the National Cup earlier on this year, before blitzing their way through the play-offs to this final.

This win marks the end of a tremendous debut season at UL for coach Mark Keenan, the deposed former Killester coach, who has brought success to Eagles after years of frustration.

Keenan said: "It´s a fantastic way to finish the season. Since Christmas I think we have shown we are the best team in the country. We had a tough start to the season, but everyone bought into what we are doing and this is a great reward."

Keenan reserved extra praise for ‘MVP’ Jason Killeen: "Jason has been brilliant all season. Tonight he got their big guys in foul trouble and he was just immense all night," he added.

A high octane opening saw DCU press UL high up the court, and the strategy reaped its rewards in the early stages, David Donnelly's side taking an early 6-2 lead.

Robert Taylor and Jason Kileen responded for UL to bring the sides level halfway through the first quarter.

Kileen rebounded a Scott Kinevane drive superbly to give UL the lead. Alas for Eagles that passage of play left Kinevane stricken on the court. UL Coach Mark Keenan cut an anxious figure as Kinevane was helped away just moments after being introduced into the game with a serious looking ankle injury.

Killeen was gobbling everything inside for UL, but DCU were showing a great variety in attack. There was nothing between the sides at the end of the first.12-12.

DCU were the superior side in the opening stages of the second quarter thanks to some excellent work from Martin Provisors and Mike Trimmer.

Michael Chubb stretched the DCU lead out to five before UL responded through Eoin Quigley. Robert Taylor followed up quickly after to bring UL back to within two.

Taylor's influence was growing in the game, and soon he had UL level at 20-20. A sumptuous pass from Matt Hall was rounded off by Eoin Quigley before Michael Chubb responded to give DCU the narrowest of half time leads.26-25.

UL emerged for the second half in decisive mood, Matt Hall's three pointer giving his side a two point lead. Killeen followed it up with two to give UL a four point advantage.

Keith Anderson replied for DCU before Hall struck again for Eagles. Pat Glover went to the line to reduce the margin again, as the game looked destined to go down to the wire.

Kevin Lacey scored a fine lay-up for DCU before Killeen and Rob Lynch edged UL in front once more. With seconds remaining in the quarter, UL veteran Matt Hall struck a massively significant three for UL to give them a six point lead heading into the final quarter. 46-40

UL increased their intensity on defense in the final quarter as DCU desperately tried to regain parity.

The Dublin side were finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate the UL rear-guard and Eagles managed to hold their six point lead with five minutes to go and went on to secure this momentous title with a 70-56 victory.

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