Rebel Wheelers led the way for Cork basketball at the National Arena

Rebel Wheelers led the way for Cork basketball at the National Arena
Johnny Hayes of Rebel Wheelers in action against John Fulham of Killester WBC. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

THREE out of four isn’t bad!

Three trophies were brought back to Leeside, amid joyous scenes for the clubs involved.

Before we reflect on the National Cup weekend let’s spare a thought for the owner of Singleton’s SuperValu Tomás Singleton, Brunell’s main sponsor, who saw his club fall to another loss in the cup final.

Sponsors are hard to find but the allegiance shown by Singleton should be commended as he is the longest sponsor with any club in Irish basketball.

“I don’t sponsor Brunell expecting to get anything back but loyalty and in fairness I have met some great friends in the club over the last 10 years,” he said.

Winning the title would have meant the world to the main sponsor but he put it in perspective.

“Look what the family and fans of Kobe Bryant had to endure today and as disappointed as I was after the final I just said to my brother Adrian at the end of day we lost a game of ball and hopefully we will one day reach the Holy Grail.”

It all began on Friday when the Rebel Wheelers won the IWA National Cup final against Killester.

The Wheelers under coach Con Coughlan produced champagne basketball and the performance from MVP Derek Hegarty would have lit up any stadium.

The happiness this win brought to the Rebel Wheelers players and supporters was a joy to witness as they departed Tallaght for a good meal in Joel’s before departing for a late-night arrival in Cork.

Tradehouse Central Ballincolllig created history when winning the President’s Cup final against IT Carlow.

It took extra time to separate the teams but the amazing fact about this Ballincollig win is they haven’t played anywhere near their best form in their all three successes!

It was a strange game as the main Ballincollig shooter Ciarán O’Sullivan didn’t score until the 17th minute but in his defence when the game was on line he showed his class to score three unanswered baskets.

American Andre Nation pipped Ciaran for the MVP award but these awards cause so much debate and confusion and should be abolished as basketball is a team game.

Neptune were also happy campers as they produced sterling basketball in the second half to defeat Belfast Star.

Eli Lenihan of Neptune in action against Darragh Ferguson of Belfast Star. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Eli Lenihan of Neptune in action against Darragh Ferguson of Belfast Star. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The northerners were dominant in the first half but credit to the Neptune coach Keith Daly he changed his defence in the second half and that helped his players restrict key scorers on the Belfast side.

In the end Eli Linehan deservedly took the MVP award and although Seán McCarthy was a close second at the end of the day this accolade was for all these young guns who put in a heroic shift.

Sean McCarthy, left, and Kelvin O'Donoghue of Neptune celebrate. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Sean McCarthy, left, and Kelvin O'Donoghue of Neptune celebrate. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The one noticeable aspect about these finals in Dublin is that people highly involved with coaching and running camps around the country don’t ever seem to support this great weekend if their clubs are not involved. 

When I look back on the great years when the Neptune Stadium hosted the finals it always attracted dedicated basketball people that really enjoyed the atmosphere and craic in our great city.

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