Neptune 78 Eanna 67
NEPTUNE are back in the Men’s Super League following their impressive win over Dublin side Eanna in a play-off at the Waterford IT last night.
In a splendid setting Neptune who finished runner-up in the Men’s Division 1 League took on Eanna, who finished 11th in the Super League, and despite a poor start that saw the Cork side trail by 10 points after two minutes they recovered in style to run out comfortable winners.
The sound of the final buzzer brought wild scenes for the Blackpool outfit as coach Paul Kelleher praised his squad in the manner they closed out the game.
“I have said all season this team were special in their approach and dedication and I think tonight’s win was just reward for their efforts since last August,” said Paul Kelleher.
Many basketball fans wanted Neptune to return to the top flight of basketball and coach Kelleher believes it will be good for the league.
“Neptune is a household name in Irish basketball and I think many of our older members are thrilled we are back in the big time.
“We must now worry about winning the League Cup as we are back in Waterford on Friday for a semi-final against Carlow IT with the final due to be played on Saturday,” added Kelleher.
The mood in the Eanna camp was one of despair as coach Pat Glover reflected on a disappointing performance from his side.
“The Super League began well for us but in reality our performances in the last few weeks have been disappointing and tonight we simply failed to stay the pace,” said Pat Glover.
Eanna got the perfect start as they tore Neptune to shreds in the opening exchanges but a timeout settled the Cork side despite trailing 26-19 at the end of the first quarter.
Neptune inspired by Gary Walsh and Roy Downey were simply awesome in the second quarter and surged into a 46-32 interval lead restricting their opponents to six points in this period.
To be fair all the Neptune players that got court time did well with American Jarell Marshall and Spanish ace Eric Nogales battling hard on the boards.
Coming down the stretch Neptune remained in control as their polished performance deservedly saw them return to the Super League in style.
Scorers for Neptune: R Downey 21, J Marshall 20, G Walsh 19.
Eanna: T Manning 19, N Lynch 18, C Gallagher 12.
NEPTUNE: G Walsh, I Thom, E Connolly, J Collins, D Murray, R Downey, C O’Sullivan, E Nogales, A Heaphy, G Noonan, J Marshall.
EANNA: T Manning, R Murray, R Dimiciukas, F Arcilla, N Lynch, C Gallagher, C White, C MacEvilly, R Myler.
Referees: Louise O’Toole (Waterford), Arimus Statkus (Dublin)