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Andre Nation starred for Ballincollig yesterday. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
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Andre Nation starred for Ballincollig yesterday. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

On-song Nation leads brilliant Ballincollig to a third trophy

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 90 Dublin Lions 67 

BALLINCOLLIG signed off on a very successful season with a third trophy after a dominant display in the League Cup decider at DCU.

Ciaran O'Sullivan celebrates with the trophy. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Ciaran O'Sullivan celebrates with the trophy. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Tradehouse Central, led by a 38-point haul from MVP Andre Nation, were very impressive in dismissing Dublin Lions, who had shocked them last month in a promotion play-off. 

Lions will still move up to the Super League next year, however, along with another Dublin outfit Éanna, after beating Neptune earlier this week. 

Ballincollig will stay in Division 1, despite retaining the President's Cup, dominating the Southern Conference and beating Carlow and Lions over the weekend to secure a treble.

Coach Kieran O’Sullivan was thrilled with his troops.

“We were outstanding in defence and the guys certainly played very well as a unit and to win National Cup and League Cup titles in one season is no mean feat,” said Kieran O’Sullivan.

Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

In the opening quarter, both teams were certainly up for battle but with Ballincollig’s Jack Kelly nailing two early mid-range jumpers it settled the Leesiders.

The Lions were battling to stay in the game but with American Conroy Baltimore getting close attention they relied on the outside shooting to hurt Ballincollig.

Ballincollig captain Ciaran O’Sullivan led by example in the offence court and when he drained a long-range three-pointer in the fifth minute it gave his side a 13-8 lead.

Tiernan Howe was showing nice touches but Kelly finished the quarter with his fourth deft jumper that reduced the deficit to 24-22 entering the second quarter.

Whatever the Ballincollig coach Kieran O’Sullivan said to his troops at the end of this period worked the oracle as his side played outstanding defence on the restart.

Indeed the Lions were restricted to a mere point for six minutes as Ballincollig took complete control.

Nation, who underachieved by his standard in the league play-off defeat to the same opposition was simply awesome, and midway through this period they had surged into a 13-point lead.

The Lions tried everything to get back in the game but Ballincollig repeatedly responded and an incredible buzzer-beating three-pointer by Dylan Corkery from deep inside his own half pushed them 18 points up at the interval.

Ian McLoughlin scored 19 points. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Ian McLoughlin scored 19 points. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

On the restart, Ballincollig piled on the pressure with Ian McLoughlin sinking some clever baskets on the fastbreak. Nation was giving an exhibition at both ends of the court and the game looked over as a contest entering the final quarter when they commanded a 77-49 lead.

 The Tradehouse Central Ballincollig squad and coaching staff. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

The Tradehouse Central Ballincollig squad and coaching staff. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Scorers for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: A Nation 38, I McLoughlin 19, C O'Sullivan 17, J Kelly 12.

Dublin Lions: C Baltimore 13, T Howe 13, I Markiewiez 12.

BALLINCOLLIG: C Murray, D Corkery, P McSweeney, A O’Connor, I McLoughlin, A Lordan, C O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, Daire O’Sullivan, J Kelly, A Chandler, A Nation, I James.

LIONS: S Mohammed, J Maguire, T Howe, T Ludbars, F Hughes, N Kavanagh, A O’Reilly, C Baltimore, I Markiewicz, R Caverley.

Referees: M McGerrrick (Dublin) P J Coughlan (Cork), C White (Dublin).