UCC Demons now one win away from a Super League return

Danny O'Mahony's side found a way to win against Dublin Lions and face Malahide next Sunday with promotion at stake
UCC Demons now one win away from a Super League return

Matthew McCarthy, UCC Demons, in action against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. Picture: Larry Cummins.

UCC Demons 76 Dublin Lions 69 

UCC Demons stumbled over the line in the Men’s Division 1 quarter-final at the Mardyke Arena on Sunday.

Demons after a slow start eventually got to grips with their Dublin opponents and now hosts Malahide in the semi-final next Sunday, one win away from a return to the top-flight and two from the Division 1 title.

For coach Danny O’Mahony it was time to reflect on his side's low-key performance.

“We didn’t play to our potential as we allowed them far too many looks outside the arc but on the plus side when we needed to execute important baskets we came up trumps.

“In some crunch games, this season we have underachieved but finding a way to win is always crucial at the top level of any sport.” 

 Coach Daniel O'Mahony talks to his team UCC Demons during a timeout against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Coach Daniel O'Mahony talks to his team UCC Demons during a timeout against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The visitors got a good start when they raced into a 9-2 lead in the second minute that was helped by a Finn Hughes three-pointer. Demons gradually got back in the game as they began running at the Lions defence and three consecutive baskets, two from Toby Christensen, reduced the deficit to the minimum.

Demons went into a slump with some crazy shooting and passing options but they did respond to level the game following a Tala Fam basket and the bonus.

It was a poor quarter for Demons and while some dubious calls were going against them they looked in disarray. On the restart, consecutive baskets gave them a lift but they still looked well off the pace.

One issue for Demons was that both Christensen and Fam should have been playing at the post but with very few assists coming their way, they resorted to shooting outside.

One plus for Demons was that 16-year-old Daryl Cuff made his home debut in place of the injured Conor Ryan and he looks a bright prospect.

 Daryl Cuff, UCC Demons rising star and still 16, scores against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Daryl Cuff, UCC Demons rising star and still 16, scores against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. Picture: Larry Cummins.

In the closing minutes, they did get a run but after a very disappointing first half, they went in at the break commanding a 37-29 interval lead. 

On the resumption, Dublin Lions registered the opening three baskets and suddenly the Demons lead was reduced to the minimum. Christensen and Fam then combined as they went into the fourth quarter commanding a seven-point lead.

Suddenly Demons went into overdrive and despite Kyle Hosford looking fatigued he still found the energy to assist two crucial baskets for Christensen.

In the closing minutes, a brace of three-pointers from Muhammed Sabic gave Lions a ray of hope before Demons responded to close out the game.

Next up for Demons on Sunday is Malahide with the prize on offer a guaranteed place in the Super League next season.

Top scorers for UCC Demons: T Christensen 28, T Fam 24, K Hosford 9.

Dublin Lions: K Anuanwu 27, F Hughes 12, M Sabic 11.

Referees: C White (Dublin), L Ahern (Limerick).

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