UCC Demons 73 DCU Saints 62
A magical second-half performance from UCC Demons captain Shane Coughlan ensured UCC Demons claimed the National Champions’ Trophy at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday.
Coughlan, immense throughout, nailed a number of crucial three pointers coming down the stretch to fire Demons to victory.
Coughlan, in his 15th season at SuperLeague level, was deservedly named MVP for his efforts in a game which brings the curtain down on a long season.
Coughlan admitted: “It has been one of the most frustrating campaigns I have ever been involved in and I think after what this team has been through, this is just reward for their loyalty. It’s always a dogfight when you play DCU Saints but we showed maturity and mental strength that eventually wore them down.”
In the opening quarter, defence was a priority for both teams. Saints led 13-19 on the restart and when Joe McGuirk nailed a three and Keith Anderson followed up with a basket, the Dublin side looked to be on a roll.
The introduction of Shane Duggan gave Demons a boost but Saints still held the upper hand (32-26) at the break.
Then UCC Demons began to find their stride, dominant in defence and more urgent in attack. With Coughlan leading by example, the Cork side led 49-39 entering the final quarter.
Duggan opened the quarter with a deft move to the hoop and suddenly Saints needed to find inspiration.
They battled hard to claw their way back and following a McGuirk basket with five minutes remaining, the deficit was reduced to six.
Once again, Coughlan was to have the final say when he came up with two monstrous three pointers that finally killed off Saints challenge.
Ciarán O’Sullivan and Kenton Walker also shone for the winners but there was no denying the inspiration of Coughlan who led by example.
The scenes at the final buzzer were incredible as Demons’ players and supporters celebrated their first national silverware since their SuperLeague success in 2009.
Scorers for UCC Demons: C O’Sullivan 18, K Walker 17, S Coughlan 12.
Scorers for DCU Saints: K Anderson 13, J McGuirk 11, E Quill 9.
UCC DEMONS: S Coughlan, N O’Reilly, C Cuff, K Walker, C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, R Murphy, L O’Mahony, M O’Leary, L Carmody.
DCU SAINTS: K Anderson, S Ingle, M Nagle, M Chubb, E Donnelly, J Gilmartin, J Donnelly, S Kiernan, M Provizors, J McGuirk, E Quill, M Trimmer, P Glover.
Referees: David Caballe (Cork), Padraic Caden (Dublin), Dick Dunne (Dublin).
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