REBEL Wheelers claimed the Hula Hoops IWA National Cup in dominating fashion as they won out 67-39 against Ballybrack Bulls.
A fantastic team effort on both offence and defence also saw a stand out display from Derek Hegarty who chimed in with 16 points for his side and an MVP performance from Paul Ryan.
A nip and tuck opening quarter saw nothing between the sides by the midway mark. Fast break scores from Ballybrack’s Valene Ryan and Graham Merrigan caused Wheelers to panic slightly, however, superb inside cuts and scores from Wheeler's captain, Ryan, kept them in the hunt and led them to a first-quarter lead, 17-10.
Wheelers gained the advantage at the beginning of the second quarter with nice scores from Ryan, once again, and Joe Hargrow. Bulls continued to push the pace and were always a threat on the counter-attack, with the hugely impressive Valene Ryan picking up some scores, as the first half ended, 29-22.
It was the third quarter that saw Wheelers’ Tiarnan O’Donnell come into his own. He scored 12 points in quick succession and made a huge impact on the game, using his length to steal the ball and catch both offensive and defensive rebounds in what turned out to be the pivotal quarter for the Cork team as they led, 54-30, heading into the last.
Excellent scores from Hargrow and Derek Hegarty in the fourth maintained Wheelers’ lead. On defence, Wheelers did a fantastic job of blocking and drawing offensive fouls from the Bulls, causing Ballybrack’s Jack Shannon Cole to foul out. From there, Bulls were eventually reduced to just three players and the Wheelers saw out the remainder of the game, winning 39-67.
“I’m elated,” said coach Con Coughlan afterwards. “The work the lads put in over the last 10 months has paid off today and I’m just delighted for them. They left it all on the court tonight. We’ve been waiting for a Cup for a couple of years, we’ve got one now and we’ll enjoy it.”
REBEL WHEELERS BC: Con Coughlan, Jack Quinn (4), Paul Ryan (9), Alex Hennebry (3), Joe Hargrow (11), Derek Hegarty (16), Alan Dineen, Tiarnan O’Donnell (14), Conor Coughlan (4), Dylan McCarthy (4), Sean Ryan (2).
BALLYBRACK BULLS: Oisin Putt, Mark Barry, Valene Ryan (13), Emer McTeggart, Jonathan Hayes (10), Jack Shannon Cole (2), Darren Healy, Jason Ryan (6), Graham Merrigan (6).
MVP: Paul Ryan (Rebel Wheelers).