A last quarter meltdown proved costly for Coughlan C&S Neptune as Griffith College Templeogue set up a decider with fellow Dubliners DBS Eanna in the Pat Duffy Men’s National Cup.
The Cork side controlled the majority of the game but when you allow a team with the experience of Templeogue hang around there is always a strong possibility it could come back to bite you.
Even Templeogue coach Mark Keenan found it hard to sum up his team’s stunning win.
“To be honest we played so poorly at times the win hasn’t sunk in yet but on the plus side credit to the players coming down the stretch they found a formula when defeat stared us in the face.”
Neptune player-coach Lehmon Colbert looked a forlorn figure as he sat on the bench looking at the stats of the game and trying to come to grips with this heartbreaking loss.
“The bottom line is we missed 16 free throws and were murdered on the boards in the second half. To say I am gutted would be an understatement.”
The Neptune coach believes his side didn’t produce the goods when the game was there for the taking.
“This was a game we handed to Templeogue but we now have to move on and wish them the best in the final.”
After witnessing the inept semi-final between Tralee Warriors and Eanna, the capacity attendance were hoping for a better performance from these sides.
It was better but only marginally as the standard was well below par for long periods of the opening quarter where a late Neil Randolph three pointer edged Templelogue ahead 19-18.
On the restart, Neptune played far better basketball and when Kyle Hosford drained a three-pointer with two minutes remaining to the interval the home side extended their lead to six points.
Despite looking the superior side, Neptune never kicked on and went in at the break with only a five-point cushion 41-36.
Some of the free-throws from Neptune were dreadful and with key Irish playersfailing to fire they never looked the complete article.
Templeogue’s American Darren Townes donned the Neptune colours in 2013 and seven years later all he could muster up to the end of the third quarter was a mere two points.
The Cork side went into the final quarter with seven-point lead but they failed to sustain it as Templeogue chipped away at it. As we entered the closing minutes, Neptune looked a side with little structure and when Neil Randolph nailed a three-pointer with 2.35 remaining, Templeogue led for the first time, 72-71.
The experience of Jason Killeen then surfaced with consecutive baseline jumpers as Neptune saw their control, and a place in the final, slip from their grasp.
In the end Templeogue wobbled over the line on a day when the standard of the top teams in Irish basketball left plenty to be desired.
Scorers for Griffith College Templeogue: J Killeen 21, L Murphy 15, K Arcilla 11.
Coughlan C & S Neptune: N Sabata 18, P Hoffman 13, L Colbert 12.