National Cup Men’s Semi-final
UCD Marian 81 UL Eagles 70
UCD Marian booked their place in the Men’s National Cup final with a hard-earned win over UL Eagles at the Mardyke Arena last night.
In a game UCD dominated in the first half, a superb second-half revival by their Limerick opponents petered out in the closing minutes.
Speaking after the game, the UCD captain Conor Meany praised his teams tenacious display.
“It was never going to be easy with so much at stake, and we are pleased we saw off UL’s brave second-half performance,” Meany said.
The UCD captain was delighted for teammate Kevin Foley who missed their last cup win in 2011.
Meany added: “Kevin is such a great competitor and it means so much to him to get to play in a cup final and lets hope it ends with a winning cup medal.”
Both sides looked tentative in the opening exchanges with Orlando Parker giving UL the perfect start with a deft drive to the hoop.
Gradually UCD Marian began getting back in the game and inspired by Meany they responded with three consecutive baskets.
When Meany nailed a three-pointer and a Preston Ross basket in the fifth minute gave UCD a 13-2 lead as UL coach Paul Kelleher called a much-needed time out.
UL responded with a brace of baskets from Scott Kinevane but with Parker substituted after his second foul, they were struggling on the scoring front.
To make it worse for UL, Dan James nailed a buzzer beater that ensured UCD Marian commanded a healthy 25-12 lead.
On the restart, the game got scrappy and amazingly UL’s American Parker was still sitting out despite his team finding scores almost an impossibility to find.
A Kevin Foley three pointer extended UCD’s lead to 13 points in the 18th minute.
Two more baskets saw UL in deep trouble but a late Parker three reduced the deficit to 14 points at the break 41-27.
Parker showed his importance to UL when he nailed a deft jumper on the restart and two Campbell free throws in the 23rd minute reduced the deficit nine points. Campbell stepped for another three and when he drained two further free throws, the game was in the melting pot.
Campbell was in superb shooting form and with two minutes left in the quarter a Meany basket restored UCD’s five-point lead.
UCD led 52-47 entering the fourth quarter and a Foley basket and bonus gave the Dublin side the perfect start.
The game was still in the melting pot with five minutes remaining with UCD still in the driving seat when commanding an eight-point lead.
When Foley drained his fourth three-pointer it gave UCD an 11-point lead they never again relinquished as time ran out on the brave UL challenge.
Scorers for UCD Marian: K Foley 23, C Meany 22, P Ross 16.
UL Eagles: S Kinevane 18, N Campbell 17, S King 16.
UCD MARIAN: J McAuliffe, P McCarthy, E Quigley, S Kinevane, N Campbell, S Hickey, A Dawson, M Hall, S King, O Parker, J Brophy, R Howlin, P Lewandowski.
UCD MARIAN: C Ross, M Chubb, C Meany, D James, B Nedveckas, N Baynes, P Ross, K Foley, K Foley, K Borsetti, R Burgos.
Referees: D Caballe (Dublin), H Jones (Walsh), I Aim (Dublin).
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