Ballincollig make history, while Moycullen and Neptune scoop U20 and U18 titles

History has been made at the National Basketball Arena as Tradehouse Central Ballincollig became the first team to win three consecutive President’s Cup titles this afternoon with a superb 73-67 overtime win over IT Carlow Basketball in a thriller.

Ballincollig make history, while Moycullen and Neptune scoop U20 and U18 titles

History has been made at the National Basketball Arena as Tradehouse Central Ballincollig became the first team to win three consecutive President’s Cup titles this afternoon with a superb 73-67 overtime win over IT Carlow Basketball in a thriller.

Despite the fact that Ballincollig came into the game as overwhelming favourites, Carlow did an incredible job of pushing the undefeated league leaders the whole way through to the end. Led by Kevin Donohue, the heavy underdogs managed to fight all the way into overtime before coming out on the losing end by just six points.

Ballincollig only managed to put breathing room between the two sides in overtime, which started with a bang as Andre Nation had a huge alley-oop dunk to bring the Ballincollig fans to their feet.

The Cork side continued to find scoring more easily and had built a six-point lead before Duane Harper scored a huge three to get it back to a one-point game with 2.27 remaining.

With the game in the balance it was Andre Nation yet again who stepped up with a massive three-point lead to give Ballincollig a six-point lead.

As the final minute counted down it was Ballincollig’s defense that came out on top as the President’s trophy headed to Cork for the third consecutive year.

“That was exhausting!” said Ballincollig boss, Kieran O’Sullivan.

“Credit to IT Carlow and their coach Martin, they did a great job on us. We showed great resilience, experience and shined through when it mattered.

There were clutch plays from Ciaran, Ronan and Andre that took us over the line and we’re absolutely thrilled to get three in a row. Finals are for winning and we got over the line - we have played in three finals and probably under performed in them but still managed to win them all.

Moycullen were crowned Hula Hoops U20 Men’s National Cup champions at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght this afternoon following a thrilling final showdown with UCD Marian.

MVP Paul Kelly was the star of the show, top scoring with a whopping 36 points on the day – 33 of which he had in the bag by the end of the third quarter.

Kelly was the standout on both ends of the floor, also collecting a big 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals throughout the game.

It wasn’t until the midway mark of the fourth quarter though that Moycullen began to get some breathing room on the scoreboard, as UCD hung with them every step of the way, with Paraic Moran, Eoin McCann and Luke Gilleran in dazzling form for the Dubliners, combining for 50 points between them.

As the fourth quarter ticked towards the final four minutes, it was scores from Tommy McNeela and James Connaire who edged Moycullen out in front by four, and despite the best efforts of an extremely talented Marian team, Moycullen held firm to win out.

Carlow's Sean Brodrick, Kevin Donohue and Aaron Whelan with Dylan Corkery from Ballincollig. Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Carlow's Sean Brodrick, Kevin Donohue and Aaron Whelan with Dylan Corkery from Ballincollig. Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Speaking afterwards, Moycullen head coach, Gerald Lyons said: “I’m over the moon, absolutely delighted! We took aim and identified that it was going to be a physical battle before the game, and it was true to form and we are delighted to be on the winning end of it. It was never comfortable the whole game, we relied heavily on Paul Kelly’s scoring today and he really stepped up to the mark. We love winning National Cups in Galway!”

Neptune were crowned Hula Hoops U18 Men’s National Cup champions in dramatic fashion at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, as they staged a comeback for the ages to win out 80-74 over Belfast Star.

The Cork team were led by a dazzling triple double performance from MVP Eli Lenihan, who finished the game with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, and also had stand out performances from Sean McCarthy, who claimed a big double double of 24 points and 15 rebounds, as well as strong scoring games from David Varms and Daniel O’Sullivan to see them home to victory.

A tactical change up in defense by Neptune as the third quarter ticked down, saw them go into a one-three-one which reaped immediate rewards as they came back from trailing by 10 points with two minutes to go in the period to hit 10 points and go into the fourth quarter down just two, 59-61.

Their run continued early in the fourth as they drove into the lead off the back of a McCarthy drive, and free throws from Kevin O’Donoghue, as well as super scores from Lenihan and McCarthy, sent them into a 68-61 point lead.

Ballincollig celebrate after the game. Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.
Ballincollig celebrate after the game. Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Star came fighting back again through the superb CJ Fulton – who almost scooped a triple double as well, finishing with 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, and with Fulton, Darragh Ferguson and Conal McGirr leading the charge, Star got back within four points with just over 20 seconds to go.

Neptune held on though and another score from Lenihan saw them home to victory, 80-74 after a thriller.

Speaking afterwards, head coach, Keith Daly said:

“I feel great, that was absolutely brilliant! The third and fourth quarter we really turned the game around. The first quarter we struggled, and Star shot and moved the ball well and spaced our defence out.

We struggled to get into our fast break, and that’s where we excel. The second half we went into the 1-3-1 zone, it took Star a while to adjust and we managed to put a run together.

"It was the fourth quarter where we took control of the game and we finally hit a few shots and that kind of helped as well.”

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