FOUR Cork clubs are through to the main event of the basketball season at the end of January after an epic weekend of National Cup semi-final action at Neptune Stadium and in the Marydke.
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell knocked out Fr Mathews in a thrilling women's clash on Friday night in front of a packed house in Neptune, atoning for defeat in their last two semi-final appearances.
Tim O'Halloran's side were impressive all through and pushed on in the last quarter, inspired by American Maddie Ganser and Latvian Linda Rubene on the boards and the slick scores of Danielle O’Leary and Tricia Byrne when the game was on the line.
They now meet Liffey Celtics in the final, which ensures there will be a new name on the cup.
Unfortunately for the Neillies, their U18s were beaten in their last four clash, while Mathews' second team got the better of Glanmire in another Cork derby to reach the NICC decider against Killester. The superb shooting of Fr Mathews' Sarah Livsey gave her side an advantage against Glanmire while Emer Twomey working tirelessly at the post.
In Saturday's action, Tradehouse Central Ballincollig will defend their Presidents Cup against Tolka Rovers after a ruthless display against Limerick Celtics.
The Shannonsiders had former Limerick Gaelic football midfielder John Galvin on duty but despite start brightly were simply swept aside by Kieran O'Sullivan's charges. American Andre Nation produced a slam-dunk clinic, while Ciarán O'Sullivan's shooting was as crisp as ever, Ian McLoughlin ripped it up in the first half and Daniel O'Sullivan's basketball intelligence assisted a succession of scores.
The Ballincollig Bear was on hand to keep the large Collig crowd entertained as the favourites romped home.
Kieran Leahy's Neptune U20 crop is arguably the most naturally gifted in the country and they didn't disappoint against Templeogue on Saturday morning.
They were irrepressible in the second quarter, where the class of Super League young guns Cian Heaphy, Darragh O'Sullivan and David Murray shone through. The Hannigans, Scott and James, were also outstanding, and Jake Collins shone off the bench.
Kris Acrilla, who was MVP when Templeogue beat Neptune in last year's U18 final, was well marshalled throughout.
FINALS FEATURING CORK TEAMS:
Hula Hoops Women’s Paudie O’Connor National Cup: Courtyard Liffey Celtics v Singleton SuperValu Brunell
Hula Hoops Men’s Presidents National Cup: Bad Bobs Tolka Rovers v Tradehouse Central Ballincollig
Hula Hoops U20 Men’s National Cup: Dublin Lions v Neptune
Hula Hoops NICC Women’s National Cup: Fr Mathews v Killester