This time they were the underdogs coming in; they departed as National Cup champions, history-makers and an inspiration for the next generation. Ciarán and his cousin Ronan were able to walk on to the supporters’ bus with the silverware after, erasing years of heartache.
American-import Cameron Clarke hadn’t heard of Ballincollig before he got a call from coach Kieran O’Sullivan to jump on a plane from Texas. Now he’ll be remembered forever in ‘the Village’. He dropped 29 points and was undisputed MVP – on the back of his 39-point haul in the semi.
Yet in the closing stages, home-grown Dylan Corkery was just as influential. He’d two vital turnovers, got Kevin Grey fouled out, and nailed pressure free-throws.
Ronan O’Sullivan also came up big down the stretch, an abrasive, gritty display before he emigrated to London yesterday to take up a new job.
It was a factor because their star man Daniel Jokubaitis tired in the latter stages, notwithstanding one terrific three to trim the gap to 62-61. Killorglin have been outstanding in this campaign, losing only once in the league, but – despite their passionate support – had far less home-grown players than Ballincollig.
And this time, they got their reward.