UCC Demons 79 Bord Gais Neptune 74
UCC Demons produced champagne basketball to book their place in the National Champions Trophy final following a narrow win over their great rivals at the Mardyke Arena last night.
The final scoreline will flatter the National Cup champions despite their impressive opening as Demons dominated for the remainder of the game much to the relief of captain Shane Coughlan.
“We began sluggishly but once we got our act together in defence I thought we showed nice touches and the necessary control,” said Coughlan.
“You have to play good defence against Neptune because they have a lot of pace in their team and now we have a chance to win a national title next weekend.”
Neptune coach Mark Scannell paid tribute to his team despite losing their fourth game of the season against their greatest rivals.
“Not many people would have predicted we would have won the national cup but credit to Demons they shot the ball very well and that proved the difference between the teams,” Scannell said.
The opening quarter was all about Neptune as they blitzed Demons with a flurry of baskets, Ian McLoughlin nailing a brace of three pointers. Neptune led 10-2 in the third minute before Demons responded to the wake up call and when Shane Coughlan nailed a three in the fifth minute the deficit was reduced to 12-10. In the closing minutes Demons’ defence was exposed and in the closing two minutes of the quarter Neptune hit six unanswered points to lead 26-16 entering the second period.
The trend of the game changed in the second period as Demons, without American Kenton Walker who was substituted after committing his second foul in the 13th minute, showed incredible resilience.
Defence became the order of the evening for Demons as they outscored their opponents 26-10 to lead by six at the interval 42-36.
Ciarán O’Sullivan had another outstanding game for Demons and he opened the third quarter with a stunning three pointer. In the opening three minutes Demons blitzed their opponents that saw them surge into a 12-point lead.
In the closing minutes, inspired by Michael McGinn, they upset Demons rhythm and entering the closing quarter the lead was reduced to five points.
Coming down the stretch on each occasion Neptune threatened to get back in the game Demons captain Coughlan dictated the point that allowed O’Sullivan finish with a game high 23 points.
Scorers for UCC Demons: C O’Sullivan 23, K Walker 18, C Cuff 13.
Bord Gais Neptune: D Townes 15,I McLoughlin 13, G Walsh 9.
UCC Demons: S Coughlan, N O’Reilly,K Walker, D O’Sullivan, C Cuff, L O’Mahony, M O’Leary, R Murphy, L Carmody,C O’Sullivan.
Bord Gais Neptune: G Walsh, M McGinn, S O’Sullivan, I McLoughlin, G Quinlan, G Noonan, J Wilkinson, D Lenihan, D Cronin, P Stapleton, D Dowling, D Townes,M Rudak.
Referees: David Caballe (Cork), Maurice Thornhill (Cork), Tom Quinn (Dublin).
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