Ballincollig BC 98 Scotts Lakers St Paul’s Killarney 74
CAMERON CLARK shot the lights out for Ballincollig at Neptune Stadium on Saturday night to set up a mouth-watering Presidents Cup final against Killorglin.
With his mother over from the US, Clark had extra motivation and was electric from the off as he delivered his best performance of the season to the tune of 39 points. It was dynamic, all-action stuff from the American who spun to the rim like Kyrie Irving at times and sunk a few Steph Curry-esque three-pointers as well for good measure.
While Clark's swashbuckling efforts were the obvious highlight in what turned out to be a pretty one-sided semi-final, Ballincollig's excellence was based on a strong team effort. Ciarán O'Sullivan and Ronan O'Sullivan were immense throughout, showing all their SuperLeague experience, with Ciarán the playmaker and Ronan a beast in the key.
Rising star Dylan Corkery chipped in too, while Jack Kelly's heft was vital in limiting Killarney's powerhouse Antuan Bootle, who did manage 29 points in the end but was curbed in the first half as Ballincollig raced into an unassailable 55-39 lead. St Paul’s actually came out of the blocks with all guns blazing, no doubt wary of the Leesiders' threat after being well beaten in a league clash, but Clark and Ciarán O'Sullivan's shooting ensured Ballincollig were still 22-19 in front after the first quarter.
Head coach Kieran O’Sullivan had his charges expertly drilled and he was able to get significant contributions from Jimmy Puha, Colin Murray and Daniel O'Sullivan off the bench.
The latter has been limited by injuries in recent years, but Daniel rolled back the years in a few tasty bursts, including a brilliant lay-up with a free throw added for good measure.
Ballincollig, new to this level, will be up against it in the final at the end of the month. Killorglin defeated Neptune in their semi-final and are top of the First Division table with a 13-0 record, yet Ballincollig's verve and commitment will surely give them a chance.
Top scorers for Ballincollig: Cameron Clark 39, Ciaran O’Sullivan 18, Ronan O’Sullivan 18.
Killarney: Antuan Bootle 29, Padraig Lucey 12, Dailian Mason 11.
BALLINCOLLIG BC: Patrick McSweeny, Tres Pere, Daniel O’Sullivan, Joshua De Nijs, Daire O’Sullivan, Alex Chandler, Dylan Corkery, Ciaran O’Sullivan, Colin Murray, Mariss Brusevics, Shane O’Connell, Elliot Asemota, Jimmy Puha, Jack Kelly, Cameron Clark, Gareth Blount, Ronan O’Sullivan.