THIS season's senior men's cup final will be an all Munster affair following wins by Team Garvey's and Blue Demons at the semifinals in Cork last weekend.
Team Garvey's had a close encounter with Dublin side Killester, but for the crowds who travelled from Castleisland it was a terrific game to watch.
Garvey's had a strong opening taking an early lead thanks to some brilliant defence by Declan Wall and some great scores from both Wall and team captain Dan Griffin who netted the first 13 point of the game for Garvey's between them.
Killester took a time out just three minutes in and came back with a press which got them back into the game. Jerome Westbrooks came on for Killester and while he was not real threat his height advantage proved to a problem for the inside players. With just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter Killester had levelled, Johnny Grennell drove to the board to put the Dublin side ahead for the first time, they went six points up.
Garvey's Seamus Brosnan and John Teahan came on for St Mary's at this point. Declan Wall and Brosnan hit three's to level, but Killester edged ahead again. Brosnan gave a brilliant all around performance as the quarter progressed. Scores from Teahan and Declan Culhane ensured that only a point separated the sides at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was equally as close. Brosnan continued to shine, he added a three for Garvey's and Wall, who was on fire, hit two more, while Dan Griffin crashed the boards at every opportunity. Killester's Mikey Deegan was unstoppable, but it was Garvey's who won the quarter and led by a point at the interval.
Wall opened the third with a three, but overall it was a low scoring as both sides fought hard to prevent their opponents from getting shot opportunities. Team Garvey's player coach Brian Clernon took to the court for the first time in the game and Killester immediately felt the pressure. The sides entered the final period with just a point between them. Clernon was now controlling the boards denying Killester the chance of a rebound at either end.
Killester kept in touch with three's from Grennell and McGrath. The atmosphere in Neptune Stadium was electric as the clock ran down, Garvey's led by three with just over two minutes on the clock. Killester hit back time after time but Dan Griffin duly responded again and again nailing six points inside the last two minutes to keep Garvey's ahead. With just over four seconds remaining Killester had possession and just three points separated the sides, Brian Clernon made a brilliant steal and was fouled he made one to widen the gap to four and guarantee Team Garvey's a place in the cup final. Team Garveys: Dan Griffin 20, Declan Wall 20, Brian Clernon 10, Seamus Brosnan and John Teahan 6, Andrew Fitzgerald and Declan Culhane 4 each, Tom Fleming and Michael Broderick 2 each.
Team Garvey's Cup final against Blue Demons will be a tough one as Demons will be seeking revenge. The sides met in the 09/10 final when Team Garvey's took the title. This final is on January 26 in the National Arena.
Team Garvey's will line out in Castleisland next weekend when they meet Team Left Bank Kilkenny in the league. Tip off for this game will be at 7.45pm.