Quirke's star quality secures league title
BASKETBALL/LEAGUE FINALS:TRALEE TIGERS claimed the Men's SuperLeague title yesterday with a 66-62 win over Dart Killester at the University of Limerick's Sports Complex, with Michael Quirke named the MVP after an eventful week for the 6ft 6in centre.
The Kerry giants atoned for their National Cup loss to Killester with four points to spare, with Quirke proving inspirational after deciding not to travel with the Kerry squad for their National Football League clash with Laois.
Quirke provided a huge tally of 20 points in the win and his desire to claim the title for Tralee was evident by his exceptional display.
"We lost our leading scorer (Chris Jordan) to foul trouble in the second quarter, which was a huge blow, but the team showed tremendous character to step up and earned the right to be champions," said Quirke.
"We were also without CJ Hadley, who we lost towards the end of the season with a wrist injury, but Pete (Strobl) has come in and really made a huge impact in such a short space of time.
"This is a huge win for the team and a fantastic way to end the season."
The first quarter saw a slow start for both teams offensively, but a superb three-pointer from Killester's John Behan helped the capital outfit to a one-point lead (21-20) at the end of the quarter.
Kieran Donaghy burst into life at the start of the second quarter by draining a three-pointer in the opening seconds to give Tralee a two-point advantage.
Behan provided the perfect response for Killester with an equally impressive three before the 6ft 3in guard hit his third three of the game to give his side a 29-25 advantage.
Killester extended their lead to 10 points (35-25) with a steal and basket from Michael Goj followed by an excellent basket from Grenada-born Bonaparte. Two free throws from Killester's Paddy Kelly left them with a 38-29 lead at the interval.
Tigers were improving offensively in the third quarter but they found themselves trailing by six points when Behan struck a superb three in the closing seconds to leave the score at 53-47 to Killester.
Quirke opened the final quarter with a three-pointer to close the gap to three points. Donaghy was making a huge impact and helped restore parity (54-54) with a full court lay-up.
Tralee soon found themselves in the lead when Donaghy converted another basket. However, Killester sneaked back into the lead with a three from Bonaparte before Quirke responded with another basket and the side never looked back and managed to secure the title with a free throw from Ger Myles confirming their status as champions.
Meanwhile, Team Montenotte Hotel Cork captain Marie Breen described it as the "perfect season" after her side claimed the treble with a 67-56 win over DCU Mercy in the final of the Women's SuperLeague in the University of Limerick.
The Cork giants added the League title to their bulging trophy cabinet after already securing the National Cup and regular season title earlier in the season.
"The win completes a tremendous year and we only managed to lose one game all season," said Breen.
"We have a really strong panel with a number of the players now representing the Irish senior national team so we players in every position who are of the highest calibre.
"It's been a truly fantastic year. We managed to win the cup in January in the last few seconds and we just went on from there," she added. "It's a great feeling and it doesn't matter what sport you are playing in it takes a lot to win every trophy on offer in one season."
WOMEN'S SUPERLEAGUE FINAL: Team Montenotte Hotel Cork 67 (28) (N Dwyer 21, M Fahy 16, J Strong 14), DCU Mercy 56 (18) (M Fox 15, L Peat 10, H Kenny 8) MVP; Michelle Fahy (Team Montenotte Hotel Cork).
MEN'S SUPERLEAGUE FINAL: Abrakebabra Tigers 66 (29) (K Donaghy 21, M Quirke 20, J Teahan 7), Dart Killester 62 (38) (M Bonaparte 16, J Behan 14, A Dahi 13) MVP; Michael Quirke (Abrakebabra Tigers).