Kieran Donaghy was the main man in Letterkenny on Sunday as Tralee swooped home to glory and scooped the silverware in the final of the Basketball Ireland Men’s Champions Trophy.
It was a thrilling finale in Donegal as Donaghy drove down the court and laid the ball up in style to send another epic battle with Regular Season champions, Templeogue, to overtime (66-66). That last gasp bucket was just one story of many that can be told from today’s game, with Jason Killeen shining brightest for Templeogue in one of the closest Men’s Super League clashes of the year.
The story, however, lies with Tralee and the glory of their achievement and it is one that will be told for many years to come. From Donaghy to Trae Pemberton – a guard who has dazzled for the Kingdom throughout the season – to Goran Pantovic, the team worked as a unit throughout and managed to hold on in the dying seconds to add another page to the history books.
It was Pemberton who stepped up to the mark with 7.8 seconds on the clock in overtime as they trailed Templeogue 73-70 and as hearts dropped around the court when his first effort did not find the mark, Donaghy was on hand for the offensive rebound to feed Pemberton once more and he made no mistake second time of asking to tie it yet again, 73-73. With double overtime looming, Donaghy had the final say of the game, adding a free throw in the dying seconds and it was with bated breath for all of Kerry as they watched the clock tick down in agonising fashion.
It wasn’t just the final game of the day though where history was made as, overall, the last weekend of the Basketball Ireland National League season certainly closed with a bang, with new champions born on the court across the two days.
Courtyard Liffey Celtics made history for their club when they pipped Ambassador UCC Glanmire to the Women’s Super League play-off title on Saturday evening – stopping Mark Scannell’s charges from scooping four-in-a-row with a formidable display from Sorcha Tiernan being the difference between the sides.
There were big celebrations for Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin early on Sunday too, as they brought the Men’s League Cup title home to Co. Kerry with a determined display against Cork’s BFG Neptune. Garny Garcia Nivar was the stand out star for the Kerry side, as he bagged 21 points and a huge volume of rebounds to send them home to victory.
Kilkenny’s Marble City Hawks will be celebrating this evening as well meanwhile, as they pipped ITC Basketball of Carlow to the crown of Women’s Division One play-off champions. The Kilkenny team – who just two months ago had to suffer the disappointment of a Hula Hoops National Cup final loss against Ulster Rockets – had no fear going in to today’s game despite facing off to this year’s Regular Season champions and Kelly O’Hallahan stole the show, driving Hawks home to a memorable victory.
Basketball Ireland Results April 2nd
Basketball Ireland Champions Trophy final
Templeogue 73-74 Garvey’s Tralee Warriors (after overtime)
Basketball Ireland League Cup final
Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin 97-72 BFG Neptune
Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One Play Off Final:
ITC Basketball 47-55 Marble City Hawks