The stakes do not get any higher, as this week the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght hosted Irish basketballs showpiece event.
The National Cup finals are where every team wants to be and this years event was a wonderful spectacle for those lucky enough to secure tickets to the sold-out arena.
The highlight of this action-packed weekend came on Friday night as Bord Gais Neptune defeated UL Eagles to end 21 years of hurt and claim their first National Cup since 1992.
Neptune are one of the celebrated institutions in Irish basketball and the long wait for this trophy ensured there were wild scenes of jubilation at the buzzer. It was a stunning performance from the Neptune players and for many, this win represented a career defining achievement.
For Neptune veteran Ger Noonan, it was a particularly poignant moment.
"I cant believe it to be honest. My best friend died ten years ago last week. He was part of the team. I think its fitting that Neptune as a team and as a club dedicate this win to Emmett Neville. Im absolutely wrecked but its worth it," he said.
Neptune coach Mark Scannell was keen to pay tribute to Noonan, "Ger Noonan cant walk some nights after training. His body is breaking down but you look at his performance tonight, absolutely top drawer, he said.
In the womens final, UL Huskies sealed another National Cup with a win over Team Montenotte Hotel Cork. While clearly inspired by the games MVP Michelle Fahy and the tenacious Rachel Vanderwal, the nature of the ULs win spoke to a fantastic collective effort.
Coach James Weldon was certainly keen to stress the commitment of all involved with this UL side," Im running out of things to say to the girls when they win trophies. I just want to pay tribute to our backroom staff. We are not really about old school coaching here at UL. Its a team effort and all the little things that people do add up to success."
While much of the attention was focused on the SuperLeague sides, there was plenty of other action to enjoy over the course of the weekend. For Brunell of Cork, it was a very special weekend as they captured a historic U18 and U20 Womens double.
Coach Kieran OLeary believes the victories are a sign that future success is imminent for the senior side. "We are in SuperLeague at the moment, and with back-to-back U-18 titles Im confident we are going to get to the top of the table in the next few years. This is a great achievement for the club. I cant say enough about those kids. They are brilliant."
A star in both age-groups, young Edel Thornton collected MVP honours in the U18 and U20 final scoring a combined 52 points in the games.
Not satisfied with her incredible weekend haul, she already has her sights on yet bigger prizes in the years ahead.
"We want to come back here again next year again and win the U-18s and U-20s again. That will set us up well for the SuperLeague. We have to keep doing the right things and not become cocky," she said.
Meanwhile Belfast Star coach Adrian Fulton was sounding a little more contented after his U18 Mens cup triumph, claiming " the search for the holy grail is over" after his side defeated Moycullen 68-57 in the U-18 boys final.
"The last time we won a club All Ireland title was 1989.We have been so close before. Weve lost 5 semi-finals and a couple of finals,but what these guys have done is absolutely incredible," he said.
For teams outside the elite SuperLeague, the Division 1 finals were held on Saturday afternoon.
Oblate Dynamos secured their first ever national title with victory over Tralee Imperials, a victory which coach Terry Staunton was struggling to digest at full time.
"This has been an amazing season. We were struggling before Christmas. We brought Jolie Niland back and she has made the difference for us. To get here was brilliant but to win it is just unbelievable. This win is for our fans. They have been with us every step of the way," Staunton said.
In the Senior Mens National Cup final, Blue Demons enjoyed a convincing win 76-62 over Team Garveys St Marys 76-62. Coach Cormac ODonoghue was pleased that his side got over the line after a tempestuous encounter.
"I let the lads know at half time that we needed to keep focussed and keep the head. They did that in the second half and I think we controlled the game from there. Hopefully we can build on this win now," he added.
While Thornton looked ahead, Luke Thompson - who collected the MVP honours in the U20 Mens Cup final after his Templeogue side defeated Killester 64 to 49 took some time to look back and thank those who had helped him and the team reach the winners platform.
The development of this team has taken place over a number of years. We are very grateful to all the people who have helped us along to get here," Thompson said.
Basketball Ireland Weekend Results National Cup Finals
All games took place at the National Basketball Arena
Friday January 25th
Men's SuperLeague Cup Final
UL Eagles 65 (30) (N Campbell 18; R Taylor 15; J Killeen 11) Bord Gais Neptune 85 (43) (M Mcginn 28; D Townes 23; G Noonan 14)
Womens SuperLeague Cup Final
UL Huskies 69 (33) (R vanderwal 26; M Fahy 14; R Clancy 13) Team Momtenotte Hotel Cork 59 (31) (G Dwyer 20; T Bacic 15; M Breen 10)
Saturday January 26th
Mens Senior National Cup Final
Blue Demons 76 (42) (B ONeill 23; K Hosford 14; T Priou 11) Team Garveys St Marys 62 (38) (J Tehan 15; B Clernon 15; D Griffin 14)
Aer Lingus provides special airfares for guests attending the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic Mar 3, 2017, 12:00 PM | VICTORY SCHOLARS Jericho, New York, March 3, 2017 -- Aer Lingus, Irelands only 4 Star airline, has today announced special airfares for those traveling to the Emerald Isle for The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, a college basketball tournament held in conjunction with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sport Chang... [read more]
Aer Lingus provides special airfares for guests attending the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic Mar 3, 2017, 12:00 PM | VICTORY SCHOLARS
Jericho, New York, March 3, 2017 -- Aer Lingus, Irelands only 4 Star airline, has today announced special airfares for those traveling to the Emerald Isle for The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, a college basketball tournament held in conjunction with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sport Changes Life, Rory McIllroys Foundation, the Rory Foundation, and The SSE Arena, Belfast. The tournament, which will take place on December 1st and 2nd, will feature Holy Cross vs. Manhattan College and La Salle University vs. Towson University. As the official airline of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, it's our privilege to not only fly the teams to the tournament, but also the loyal fans, who will travel across the Atlantic to show their support, said Jack Foley, Aer Lingus Executive Vice President, North America. We look forward to offering guests a warm welcome on board our flights. Special fares are available from across Aer Lingus East Coast transatlantic network of Boston (BOS); Hartford (BDL); New York (JFK and EWR), and Washington D.C. (IAD) for outbound travel to Ireland between November 17 and November 30, and return flights between December 3 and December 10, 2017. Roundtrip fares, inclusive of taxes and fees are as follows: From JFK, EWR, BDL $469* From BOS $479* From IAD $559* These fares are available exclusively through Aer Lingus Emerald Exclusives Desk, which operates Monday through Friday 9:30am 4:30 pm EST. They can be reached via telephone at 1-877-351-6665.
Killorglinhas won Cork Mens Basketball Board Boys U17 Billy Kelly Tournament after defeating Moycullen 53-52 in the final on 15-Apr-2017 in the Parochial Hall, Gurranabraher. Killorglinwere Pool 1 winners after the first day of the tournament. On the second day they defeated Templeogue and Blue Demons on the way to the final. Neptune was stopped byMoycullen at semi-final stage. It was a dramatic end of the final game of an excellent tournament having been down by two points with 10 secondsto play Killorglin tookthe win. From : www.corkbasketball.com
Congratulations toMoycullen BC on winning Boys U16A All Ireland Club Championship in Cork. Moycullen defeated Belfast Star 31-18 in the final game of the Championship on 23d of April 2017 in the Parochial Hall. Pool 3 winners Moycullen defeated Gneeveguilla in the first semi-final while Belfast were victorious over Corks Blue Demons. Blue Demons took the 3rd position in the overall ranking with Ballincollig taking the 5th. Well done to both Corks club. From : www.corkbasketball.com
Cork Celts last evening won The Cork County Basketball Board's Div 1 League Title for the second consecutive season Defeating Ballincollig.
Anthony Thompson (178-PG)
Donaghy the star as Tralee Warriors crowned Men's Champions Trophy champions - 28 days ago
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Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) was the star of the show in Letterkenny today as Tralee swooped home to glory and scooped the silverware in the final of the Basketball Ireland Men's Champions Trophy. It was a thrilling finale in Donegal as Donaghy drove down the court and laid the ball up in style to send another epic battle with Regular Season champions, Templeogue, to overtime (66-66). That last gasp bucket was just one story of many that can be told from today's game, with Jason Killeen (2... [read more]
Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) was the star of the show in Letterkenny today as Tralee swooped home to glory and scooped the silverware in the final of the Basketball Ireland Men's Champions Trophy. It was a thrilling finale in Donegal as Donaghy drove down the court and laid the ball up in style to send another epic battle with Regular Season champions, Templeogue, to overtime (66-66). That last gasp bucket was just one story of many that can be told from today's game, with Jason Killeen (211-C-85, college: Augusta) shining brightest for Templeogue in one of the closest Men's Super League clashes of the year. The story, however, lies with Tralee and the glory of their achievement and it is one that will be told for many years to come. From Donaghy to Trae Pemberton (193-G-92, college: Maryville, MO) - a guard who has dazzled for the Kingdom throughout the season - to Goran Pantovic (208-F-91, college: Drexel), the team worked as a unit throughout and managed to hold on in the dying seconds to add another page to the history books. It was Pemberton who stepped up to the mark with 7.8 seconds on the clock in overtime as they trailed Templeogue 73-70 and as hearts dropped around the court when his first effort did not find the mark, Donaghy was on hand for the offensive rebound to feed Pemberton once more and he made no mistake second time of asking to tie it yet again, 73-73. With double overtime looming, Donaghy had the final say of the game, adding a free throw in the dying seconds and it was with bated breath for all of Kerry as they watched the clock tick down in agonizing fashion. Courtesy of: basketballireland.ie
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