Rebel Wheelers coach Alan Dineen on how talented Cork side completed four in a row

Leeside basketballers have delivered quality displays at the business end of the cup for some time now
Rebel Wheelers coach Alan Dineen on how talented Cork side completed four in a row

Rebel Wheelers coach Alan Dineen after defeating Southeast Swifts in the IWA national cup semi final at the Neptune Stadium. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

THE sense of satisfaction and the glow of pride on the face of Rebel Wheelers coach Alan Dineen after guiding his side to their fourth consecutive title in the IWA National Cup at the National Basketball Arena was clear for all to see.

In a game that had the large attendance on their feet from start to finish on Friday night, coach Dineen had always faith his side would rise to the challenge and beat Limerick Celtics.

“That was pretty tough as they put it up to us right to the wire but luckily we expected a huge effort from them and were prepared for what they threw at us," Dineen said. 

Coach Dineen felt his side kept their best performance until the vital fourth quarter and there they eventually were able to pull away from a very good Limerick side.

“It took us three-quarters to get up to full speed but when we did I think we put the game to bed in style,” added Dineen.

The Wheelers chief although expecting a tough challenge was a little surprised in the manner they played for so long in this final.

Rebel Wheelers' Conor Coughlan celebrates after the game. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher
Rebel Wheelers' Conor Coughlan celebrates after the game. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher

“Let’s be fair they played out of their skins and for Tiernan O’Donnell who played with us three years ago it was a terrific performance that’s not usually associated with being on the losing side.” 

When the game hung in the balance coach Dineen knew his side would stand up to be counted.

Look I am like other coaches in the sport you do get to know your players over a period of time and I just knew when it came to go to war we had the artillery.” 

Derek Hegarty who has been a stalwart for the Cork side over many years in the cup finals didn’t have a good first half on the scoring front but his coach couldn’t resist praising his all-round contribution.

“Derek is a player that is a coach’s dream knowing that when you put him on court you are guaranteed a good shift and I think he came good when the game hung in the balance. When we slackened in defence Derek got vocal with the lads and that’s down to his experience and knowledge of playing on the big stage.” 

Coach Dineen believes the skills in wheelchair basketball are extraordinary.

“I know people will find this funny but the skills needed to play wheelchair basketball are at a high level and I think you saw two teams tonight showing us the true spirit of the game. A lot of work goes into developing the game and we have players that are always wanting to reach the next level.” 

LIFT

For one player it was a very special day as Adam Drummond who had a life-changing accident in 2021 and to see him go on court with two minutes remaining and nail a basket with his first touch gave his coach and teammates a huge lift.

“Adam was a superb basketball player before his accident and is only playing wheelchair basketball for a year but his contribution to our club and team has been immense and he is pushing the lads at all times in a positive way.

“Before the game he actually said to me he had never lost a final in the arena and I know privately this win will mean everything to him.” 

Rebel Wheelers' Derek Hegarty. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher
Rebel Wheelers' Derek Hegarty. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher

Over the years the Rebel Wheelers fans have lit up basketball headquarters in Dublin and on this occasion, it was another great night in the capital.

As a player, it can be a huge lift because tonight Limerick Celtics were involved in two finals and outnumbered our fans but it was the Rebel Roar that helped us over the line.

“All we will be thinking about right now is winning the five in a row for all the great people that support us.”

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