ANOTHER fantastic weekend of National Cup semi-finals basketball is over and once again the attendances at the Neptune Stadium, Parochial Hall and Upper Glanmire Sports Complex were all documented as a huge success.
Covering basketball for a number of years now has given me a true insight into what cup basketball means to everybody involved no matter what grade you are competing in.
Naturally, the teams at the top tier in both the Men’s and Women’s Super-Leagues were hosted at the Neptune stadium and we were treated to an exceptional Pat Duffy Cup game between Ballincollig side Emporium Cork Basketball and Dublin side DBS Eanna.
If ever Ballincollig had the opportunity to reach their first final at this level this was the one as Eanna went into the game minus Marko Tomic, Sean Jenkins and Scott Kinevane.
To be fair Ballincollig after a slow start finally got to grips with their opponents in the second quarter and looked comfortable midway through the third when they surged into a 12 point lead.
Helped by three massive John Dawson three pointers and a stunning dunk the Ballincollig fans were in rapture but little did they realise what was coming down the table to them.
Make no mistake this Eanna squad are relentless and with the Ballincollig outside shooting threat freezing they were eventually made to pay by the rampant Dubliners.
This loss is bound to be felt by the faithful at Ballincollig but its no shame going down to a talented side like Eanna who if they get some injured players back for the final on January 21 are bound to pose NUIG Maree problems in what could be a very explosive decider.
Luckily for Cork they are four finalists as the reigning IWA champions Rebel Wheelers easily accounted for Southeast Swifts 65-28.
It will be Limerick Celtics in the final but the Wheelers who have former Neptune star Adam Drummond in their squad do look a side destined for glory.
The Parochial Hall Gurranabraher was the venue for Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell clash against the reigning champions Limerick Celtics in the U18 Women’s clash.
It was back in the good old days with a carnival atmosphere as Brunell turned the formbook upside down.
It proved a great day for stand in Brunell coach Jodie Black who took over from the regular coach Kieran O’Leary in the last six weeks and with the help of the experienced Edel Thornton they managed to get this squad of players to play serious defence.
The Brunell players and fans enjoyed it and with their main sponsor Tomas Singleton also in attendance maybe the Nellies will end the cup drought when they play Trinity Meteors in the final.
It was similar for UCC Demons at the Neptune Stadium when they came up against a highly rated Titans side who had players from a few clubs in the west of Ireland in their squad.
It was a game that certainly attracted a huge Demons crowd to the Blackpool venue and they had to dig deep before getting the better of a talented Titans outfit.
Coach Shane McCarthy will now set his sights on going one better against Tolka Rovers in the final after losing to UCD Marian in last year’s decider.
The fourth Cork club heading to Tallaght will be Glanmire who easily accounted for Cobh in a Cork derby semi- final and now they face a tricky final against Liffey Celtics.
No doubt Nicky Bohane and assistants John Glavin and Gareth Blount will enjoy their weekend in the capital hoping to bring silverware back to Leeside.