UCC Demons have the edge on Fr Mathew's with cup final looming

Spanish star Tala Fam Thiam was the top-scorer at the Mardyke for unbeaten Demons
UCC Demons have the edge on Fr Mathew's with cup final looming

Tala Fam Thiam, UCC Demons, eyes the basket against Fr Mathew's. Picture: Larry Cummins.

UCC Demons 89 Fr Mathew's 70 

UCC Demons continued their winning run in the Men’s Division 1 National League when they defeated local rivals Fr Mathew's at the Mardyke Arena.

Not the greatest game seen at this famous venue and Demons coach Danny O’Mahony conceded his players were conscious of the President's Cup final next weekend.

“We hadn’t the energy usually associated with us but I will give the players the benefit of the doubt as I think they had one eye on the cup final.” 

He is happy his team came through the game unscathed despite the pressure of a derby game.

“I could say a lot more about this game but I will move on and get on with preparing for the next weekend’s game.” 

Baskets fromTala Fam and Toby Christensen only took 55 seconds to get their team up and running.

Demons pushed on and following a second Christensen basket edged them into an 11-3 lead in the third minute with Mathew's coach Niall O’Reilly deciding a time-out was needed.

The home side weren’t at their best as they looked a side going through the motions and with a minute remaining on the clock they only commanded a 10-point lead. A brace of free throws from Christensen ensured Demons led 25-13 entering the second quarter.

On the restart, Demons stopped getting backcourt rebounds and a Diego Herlihy three-pointer reduced the deficit to eight in the 13th minute.

The game as a spectacle was equivalent to a scrimmage but Demons never looked like getting beaten at the same time.

Demons professional Christensen attempted five three-pointers in the first half without making one but he was signed for to play with his back to the basket. Most of his 15 points came five feet from the basket so it was strange to see the Danish player shooting so often outside the arc.

Demons continued to be scrappy and it was no surprise they only went in with a nine-point interval lead 43-34.

The hard-working Fam got Demons off to a good start in the second half with a neat jumper but some of the refereeing decisions were frustrating as they looked to have got a number of inbound calls wrong.

It was also noticeable that the home side were finding it difficult finding Fam at the post as the Spanish star was made work for the majority of his baskets.

Mathew's, without excelling, were very much in the game as they only trailed by 11 points with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

Demons took a 67-49 into the last quarter but credit to Mathews they refused to wilt and with four minutes remaining they were still in the game despite trailing 80-69.

In the end Demons were comfortable winners but it wasn’t their best display of the season.

 Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons, with possession against Fr Mathew's. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons, with possession against Fr Mathew's. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Top scorers for UCC Demons: T Fam 26, T Christensen 23, R Murphy 11, D Lehane 10.

Fr Mathew's: J Garcia 21, D O’Helihy 18, D Murray 10.

UCC DEMONS: S Manovic, S Carney, R Murphy, K Hosford, D Lehane, T Thiam Fam, K Hosford, M McCarthy, C Looney, C Ryan, K Moynihan, T Christensen.

Fr MATHEW'S: A O’Donoghue, D Brazas, L Osborne, J Garcia, D Murray, S McManus, B Merchant, D Herlihy, A Connolly.

Referees: J Barry (Limerick), M Daly (Limerick).

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