Blue Demons 82 Leixlip Zalgiris 60
FORM is temporary, class in permanent.
The above words probably sum up the performance given by Blue Demons in the Men’s NICC final at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday.
A masterclass of shooting by Liam Carmody with a 36-point contribution saw him deservedly crowned MVP but this was a day that individuals went out the window.
This win was all about a team performance as stalwarts Shane Coughlan (16) and Shane McCarthy (8) battled on the boards as if their lives depended on it.
The Leixlip side consisted of all Lithuanians and they took no prisoners going for rebounds. Credit to Coughlan and McCarthy they took hits that wouldn’t be out of place at Thomond Park.
The latter had to be checked by a doctor after the game as with bruised ribs he found it hard to breathe.
Credit to Demons they had their homework done and when McCarthy nailed a three-pointer in the third minute they surged into an 11-4 lead after a stunning period of basketball.
The Kildare side were relying on their outside shooting but a neat Ryan Murphy drive to the hoop saw Demons go in commanding a 22-17 lead.
On the restart, Demons continued to dominate as the shooting of Carmody kept them in control.
Indeed Demons defence was solid as they played man to man defence that restricted their Kildare opponents getting back within striking distance.
The large attendance was expecting Zalgiris to show more intensity on the restart but once again the shooting of Carmody and Coughlan broke their hearts.
In the closing minutes of the quarter, Demons increased the intensity and it was fitting Carmody would finish with a stunning three-pointer that increased their lead to 21 points entering the final quarter.
Coming down the stretch Zalgiris chose to shoot long range three-pointers but not many of them dropped with Demons continuing to dominate the boards.
It was a period when Demons coach Troy O’Mahony could afford to use various rotations as they never looked in danger of losing control.
In the end the title returned to Cork as this was a masterclass performance from a side that went into the final as raging underdogs.
Scorers for Blue Demons: L Carmody 36, S Coughlan 16, D Lehane 11.
Leixlip Zalgiris: R Eiducas 14, M Cepliauskas 10, K Damulevicius 10.
DEMONS: D O’Leary, K O’Mahony, R Murphy, S McCarthy, S Coughlan, D Thompson, S Rodgers, D Lehane, B Murphy, L Carmody, S O’Connell.
LEIXLIP: J Butkevicius, K Damulevicius, A Urnikis, E Eldukas, A Kasrcikas, M Cepliauskas, A Lekavicius, M Kasperavicius, G Trakauskas, V Grabauskas, E Pocius.
Referees: David Caballe (Athlone), Ires Freire (Dublin), M Gilleran (Dublin).