UCC Demons 97 Malahide 84
UCC Demons are back in the Men’s Super League next season following a hard-earned win over Malahide in the Men’s Division One semi-final before a huge attendance at the Mardyke Arena.
There was a lot of tension in the air, with such a prestigious prize up for grabs, but Demons had real stars in Kyle Hosford, Mathew McCarthy, David Lehane and Tala Fam when the game threatened to run away from them.
The carnival atmosphere made it a special occasion and the sound of the final buzzer was greeted with delight by the loyal Demons fans.
Coach Danny O’Mahony praised his troops on another memorable day for the club: “It was a tough game and one where I felt we only played in snatches but look many of our key players stood up to the challenge and we are so pleased to be back competing at the highest level of Irish basketball again.”
Cian Daly shot a long-range three-pointer for the visitors in the opening minute as Demons surprisingly decided to play zone defence. The shooting of Malahide in the opening seven minutes was awesome as Demons defending was lethargic and following a superb Trevor Recio dunk the Dublin side surged into a 16-12 lead.
Experienced players like Toby Christensen and Tala Fam were putting the ball on the floor which resulted in Malahide intercepting it that gained valuable possession.
The introduction of rising star Jack O’Leary gave Demons strength at the point and a late Christensen basket and bonus gave them a fortunate 25-20 lead at the end of the quarter.
On the restart, Demons improved as Kyle Hosford began taking control at the point but Malahide were hanging in despite trailing by five points midway through the second period. Demons can thank the contribution of youngster Mathew McCarthy who nailed three three-pointers when they were struggling for baskets.
In the closing minutes Demons were lucky to pick up a few scrappy baskets as they went in at the interval commanding a 53-45 lead.
Demons got to grips on the restart and with Hosford and Fam executing crucial baskets they raced into a 16-point lead in the 24th minute. Suddenly Demons lost their structure, and the lead was reduced to three points before they edged 74-68 up entering the final quarter.
The tension was clear coming down the stretch, but Demons always produced the key baskets that ensured a final next weekend against Sligo All-Stars and a place in the Super League.
T Fam 27, K Hosford 20, T Christensen 19.
T Recio 31, K Foley 17, C Daly 11.
S Manovic, S Carney, R Murphy, K Hosford, D Lehane, T Thiam Fam, K Hosford, M McCarthy, C Looney, K Moynihan, T Christensen, D Cuff, B Horgan.
C Daly, S Fitzpatrick, S Daly, S Ingle, C O’Driscoll, T Guebelli, M Harper, P Madsen, D Timmons J Collins, G Barron, C McDonnell, T Recio, K Foley.
L Aherne (Limerick), M Alkurdi (Longford).