Cork basketball: Cup final is always special for fans and players

John Coughlan reviews another epic weekend of action at the National Basketball Arena
Cork basketball: Cup final is always special for fans and players

The Address UCC Glanmire's Casey Grace celebrates on Sunday. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

IT was a good weekend for Cork teams at the National Basketball Arena last weekend with three wins out of the five finals they were involved in.

It certainly was about keeping the best 'til last as The Address UCC Glanmire produced a stunning fourth quarter to win their first Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup final since 2017.

Credit to Mark Scannell and his players they got their act together when defeat stared them in the face and for MVP Claire Melia it was a day to cherish with her first medal at this level.

The Address UCC Glanmire's Claire Melia was the MVP. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
The Address UCC Glanmire's Claire Melia was the MVP. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Melia lost her mother last year but credit to all concerned at the Glanmire club they have helped through this sad time and she has repaid them with some incredible performances.

UCC Demons were involved in two with their men’s U20 side getting the show on the road with the opening game on Friday night. The biggest problem for Demons was the height advantage UCD Marian had over them and in the end despite losing by the minimum they put up a bold show.

You could argue Demons' shooting cost them big time but let’s be fair, players like Mathew McCarthy who excel at taking the ball to the hoop were curbed by the height of their opponents.

There was joy for the Rebel Wheelers in the IWA National Cup final when they took the court on Saturday morning to play Killester.

Rebel Wheelers' Jack Mangan gets ready to shoot despite Kilester's Patrick Forbes reaching in. Picture: Moya Nolan
Rebel Wheelers' Jack Mangan gets ready to shoot despite Kilester's Patrick Forbes reaching in. Picture: Moya Nolan

As John McHale explained in Monday's Echo, these finals are hugely entertaining and the exertions of these players over 40 minutes are incredible.

Conor Coughlan ended up MVP and wept openly when his name was announced, pure joy to go with the third consecutive title. Player-coach Alan Dineen was elated too and Rebel Wheelers club do huge work for many sports.

UCC Demons, after experiencing witnessing their U20 team go down by the minimum, were determined to put it right when they met Drogheda Wolves in the President's Cup final.

UCC Demons' Kevin Moynihan won an U20 All-Ireland medal with Cork hurlers last summer. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
UCC Demons' Kevin Moynihan won an U20 All-Ireland medal with Cork hurlers last summer. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Despite a slow start once they got to grips in defence they won this final in a canter as they can now set their sights on trying to win the Men’s Division 1 title.

The prize on offer will be promotion to the Super League but on the other side of the coin the question is are they good enough to compete at this level?

STEP-UP

Granted they have a good crop of Irish players but they would need to add a top-class American and a couple of Bosmans to be able to cope with the elite sides.

C & S Neptune were expected to win their first Pat Duffy Men’s National Cup title since 2013 but they fell flat against a very organised Tralee Warriors.

I think enough has been said about the game but you must have a tinge of sympathy for the club that invested heavily in this campaign. 

On the night Americans Miles Washington (7) and Richaud Gittens (4) could only contribute 11 points between them and when that happens any team at this level usually end up losing.

I received many complaints about the cost of going into the arena for these finals.

How can Basketball Ireland justify charging €20 for a Men’s U20 game and €25 for the Men’s and Women’s finals?

These costs on top of staying in hotels make the trip to the capital a very expensive one and surely needs addressing by the people who govern the sport.

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