Tuesday 25 June 2019

Swords in last-chance saloon


Having suffered a last-gasp defeat against league leaders Garvey's Tralee Warriors the weekend before last, Griffith College Swords Thunder know that they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to win their first-ever Super League title.

The blanket postponement of all last week's games because of the danger of travelling in the blizzard weather conditions means that Thunder must now travel to UCD Marian tomorrow (Wednesday) for an 8pm tip-off, before welcoming Templeogue to ALSAA on Saturday (5pm) for their final game of the regular season.

It's a tough 72 hours for Dave Baker's side, starting with the joint leaders UCD Marian and ending their campaign against fifth-placed Templeogue who could still win the league themselves given that they have a game in hand.

Needless to say, only two wins will do if Swords are to claim the Supeer League honours and even that might not been enough if other results don't go their way.

It would all have been so different had they managed to hold on for a win in Tralee, but agonisingly they lost the game at the death when Goran Pantovic finished a sharply delivered hook shot to secure a one-point win for Warriors with just seconds remaining.

Although their fate isn't in their own hands any more, coach Baker believes that there could be a couple more twists in what has been the most exciting finish to a Super League season in recent memory.

'It's been a very strange season this year,' he agreed, 'with no real dominant team and all of the top sides losing five or six games. I believe if we can win our final two games then we are in with a shout.

'Obviously we play UCD Marian next and if we can beat them then it is probably only Garvey's who can stop us. They have a very difficult match next against Templeogue, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion.

'Obviously we would much prefer to have our destiny in our own hands, but the important thing is we are still in there fighting. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the opposition and I take my hat off to Tralee who are a class outfit and just managed to get past us. That was our first defeat in six or seven games and unfortunately it came at a crucial stage.

'We had a wobble at the tail end of last year where we lost a couple of games we would have probably expected to win, but I have to say since the turn of the year the lads have been fantastic. We've had a bit of a rough time this season with injuries and ironically just as the season is coming to a close we have pretty much everybody available to us again.

'All I know is we will not be giving up until it's over. It's a hugely exciting climax to the Super League and we're just happy to be still in there fighting for the title.'

Fingal Independent