THE National Cup semi-finals weekend proved a huge success with Cork clubs Neptune and Brunell hosting them at the Neptune Stadium and Parochial Hall.
It all began on Friday at the Neptune Stadium for a 6.15pm tip-off between the two Cork superpowers of Women’s basketball The Address UCC Glanmire and Singleton's SuperValu Brunell.
To be fair Brunell got a great start with consecutive Simone O’Shea three-pointers helping them to a 12-2 lead after just three minutes. Glanmire refused to panic and gradually got back in the game as they managed to lead at the end of the quarter.
The tactics of Glanmire was simple as they set screens and duly knocked down the crucial shots. Brunell played decent defence for the opening six minutes and then collapsed and by halftime, they had given up 50 points.
In the end, Glanmire were deserving winners despite having only one American, as their new signing Tierney Pfirman was not eligible to play.
There is little doubt the Brunell coach Timmy O’Halloran will rue not having a plan B as his team looked disjointed when the game hung in the balance.
The Neptune Stadium on Saturday was certainly a venue with plenty of action as the day began with DCU Mercy overcoming Waterford Wildcats in the second semi-final of the Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup.
Wildcats had defeated DCU Mercy twice this season in the Super League but on this occasion coach Mark Ingle had his team primed for battle and their final against The Address UCC Glanmire will be mighty interesting.
There was certainly a carnival atmosphere for the men’s semi-final between Tralee Warriors and Eanna. It is hard to believe that Tralee only made six three-pointers out of the 37 attempted and still managed to win!
The emotion of Warriors' Kieran Donaghy after the game typified the great he truly is as he was part of many disappointing years at this stage with the Kerry club.
Eanna, with a squad mainly made up of Bosmans and Americans, were simply not good enough on the day and the Warriors are sure to make plenty of noise in the National Basketball Arena on Saturday, January 22.
The hosts Neptune were very upbeat going into their semi-final against NUIG Maree and they didn’t let their fans down with a professional performance that booked their place in the showdown.
Credit to coach Colin O’Reilly he had his team primed and tuned and they never looked likely to lose this game. The performance of Cian Heaphy was a sight to behold and his two jammers had the home fans in rapture.
Nobody deserves to captain a Neptune side to a National Cup title more than Roy Downey who has been inspirational in their revival this season.
UCC Demons qualified for the final of the President's Cup final following their 73-64 win over a highly fancied Sligo All-Stars side.
When you have Kyle Hosford in your team you always have a chance of winning as he oozes class and with Tala Thiam Fam finishing with 31 points the road to Tallaght was sealed.
Ballincollig were raging favourites to defeat UCC Demons in the U20 semi-final but they came a cropper as the Sunday's Well side demolished them at the Blackpool venue.
Demons went into the game with three U17s in their squad and the majority of the side are underage again next season.
Reports from the game suggested Demons were dominant from start to finish and for Jack O’Leary it was a real boost after getting injured in his club's President's Cup semi-final on the eve of this game.
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell had a disappointing weekend as they went down to Portlaoise Panthers in the U20 Women’s semi-final.
The bottom line is that Brunell couldn’t buy a basket in the second half and only amassed eight points over two quarter and in the end their poor shooting options came back to haunt them.
On a final note well done to both Neptune and Brunell for a job well done in hosting another memorable semi-finals weekend in Cork.