National Cup Basketball champions knocked out in opening round
Underdogs DCU Saints inflict ‘sweet win’ on hosts Griffith Swords Thunder
Basketball National Cup: Black Amber Templeogue held firm to win 90-81 against Belfast Star. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
There were thrills, spills and upsets galore last weekend as the opening round of the Basketball National Cup got under way, with some spectacular results across the board.
One result in particular caught the attention of basketball fans nationwide, as underdogs DCU Saints caused the upset of the weekend when they overcame reigning champions Griffith College Swords Thunder 75-70 in thrilling fashion.
“It was a sweet win to get,” said DCU Saints head coach Joey Boylan. “It feels very good to get the win, especially in the cup. It was always going to be a tough game, being up against Swords and especially in their place, but we never let them get a run on us.”
Indeed Swords, who had lost just one game so far this season, were left on the back foot from early on as Boylan’s charges drove into a 38-42 point half-time lead, with Men’s Super League September player of the month, Dee Proby, proving to be a massive thorn in the side of the Swords defence, top scoring with 30 points.
Elsewhere, Black Amber Templeogue held firm to win 90-81 against Belfast Star, with a phenomenal display from Lorcan Murphy who netted 30 points for the Dublin side despite the best efforts of Conor Quinn and Keelan Cairns of Star.
“We made hard work of it,” said Templeogue’s Mark Keenan afterwards. “The second half was a tight affair, it came right down to the last few minutes but I’m just happy we closed it out.”
There was also cup action in the Men’s Division One league, with the battle for the President’s Cup producing some big results. Cup holders Neptune got out of jail just in time against IT Carlow, managing to hold their nerve in the dying seconds to edge into the second round.
In the Women’s Super League, Courtyard Liffey Celtics and Singleton SuperValu Brunell produced one of the games of the weekend, with just a point separating the sides at the final buzzer and the Kildare team relieved to take the win.
“It was a great win. We didn’t get off to the best start – it took us at least two quarters to figure out their strengths,” said Celtics head coach Mark Byrne. “Once we did that, we played great defence in the second half. They’re a really tough team, smart and well-coached, so any win against them, you’ve got to be happy with.”
Elsewhere, Pyrobel Killester bagged their first win of the season when they overcame Portlaoise Panthers at home on Saturday evening, while NUIG Mystics had to settle for second best in a close tie with Ambassador UCC Glanmire. Mark Ingle’s charges at DCU Mercy meanwhile made it two from two with a solid win over IT Carlow Basketball on Sunday afternoon.