THE scenes at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday at the full time buzzer when UCC Demons defeated Dublin side Tolka Rovers had to be seen to be believed.
Demons players ran into the stand to salute their fans such was the delight in how they managed to produce a Houdini act against all the odds.
Trailing by six points with 1.56 left on the clock the Sunday’s Well outfit looked to be in serious trouble but backed by the their fanatical fans they managed to win it at the death.
For coach Shane McCarthy it was a dream come true after losing out by the minimum in last years decider to UCD Marian.
Surprisingly coach McCarthy knew there was one last throw of the dice in his side.
McCarthy said: “It’s been the story of our season as we have been known to put big scores together in the matter of minutes and that was the case today when defeat stared us in the face.”
The game looked to be running away from Demons but probably the most crucial score of the game came from Colin Hannigan who nailed a stunning three pointer from the baseline when trailing by six.
“Colin is one of our unsung heroes as he is a very good shooter with his defence excellent from start to finish and he deserves lots of credit with his performance,” added McCarthy.
Demons had an early game plan according to McCarthy.
“Our focus was to get Ben Horgan going early with his outside shooting and although he hit the first one the next few didn’t drop but look in the heat of battle today all my players were heroes.”
Demons fans are well known at basketball headquarters and coach McCarthy believes they were the secret weapon in getting over the line.
“We had a time out with 1.30 left and I couldn’t hear myself speak and for our fans the excitement was at fever pitch but for me I don’t think the heart could take many more of these games.”
When Demons lost the 2022 decider to UCD Marian coach McCarthy was adamant he would return to basketball headquarters to bring the title back to Leeside.
“Losing a cup final is not easy but I knew it was in these lads to win this title and that’s what we set out to do right from the start of the season.
“Next season we have another decent team and although Jack O’Leary, Colin Hannigan and Mathew McCarthy are over age the rest of the lads will all be there plus we will have Daryl Cuff back.”
Shane McCarthy was one of the most talented underaged players produced by Demons with his outstanding shooting skills and defence but now it’s all about helping the club produce quality players.
“I just love coaching this group of players although at times you need plenty of patience but overall they give me a great buzz.
“Amazingly 26 years ago I was here with Shane Coughlan winning a Minor National Cup and now to be back coaching a club team is what dreams are made of.”
Demons fans know how to support their teams and in the words of Shane they are not too bad in celebrating victories either.
“The Joshua Tree will have a couple of days with our teams and fans as last year we had to return there as losers but like all good teams we found the way to conquer it on this occasion.
“On a final note I would like to pay tribute to my assistant Troy O’Mahony and of course our sponsor Bryan Mangan in New York who both played a huge part in this win.
"This club is in a great place right now. The Super League team are doing very well and this win adds to the buzz and excitement about the club."