Friday 15 December 2017

Basketball: Success takes monkey off Demons' back, insists Kelleher

UCC DEMONS coach Paul Kelleher believes that claiming a first national title will fill his team with the belief needed to progress next season.

The Cork side claimed the Champions Trophy as they proved too strong for DCU Saints in Tallaght.

"To be honest, for this group of players, I think it is the monkey off the back," he said.

"We have had so much building over the last three years, we were right there this year again, we were 10 and one in the league and then, I wouldn't say we fell apart but we just lacked a bit of fluency, we had a couple of injuries and illnesses, guys in hospital, stuff like that. It killed our momentum.

"We knew we were always there, it was only a matter of getting over the hump – I am delighted for the younger lads, I'm delighted for the older fellas, delighted for the club really."

A number of huge three-pointers from captain Shane Coughlan in the second half swung the tide Demons' way after the southerners had trailed by six points at the half-time break in a chippy but hugely entertaining contest.

Demons then built on that lead and, try as they might, DCU couldn't mount a comeback and the Demons claimed the first title.

Vanderwal helps UL to record sixth title

LIMERICK'S UL Huskies' sixth Superleague title win saw them draw level with WIT Wildcats at the top of the all-time list.

It also marked this side's third successive league crown as they were too strong for DCU Mercy at the National Basketball Arena.

"It is unbelievable, everything we do we do for each other. You would never miss a training for the girls. There is such a good team spirit and it is just unbelievable to play on a team like this," power forward Aoife McDermott said.

The Dubliners, however, hit the lead early in the game as Lindsay Peat weaved her way through the Huskies zone and scored.

Soon after though, Huskies found their rhythm and began to move the ball quickly on offense, finding open shooters both inside and outside the key as Rachel Vanderwal grew into the game.

By the end of the third quarter, they led by 24 points and despite Mercy's best efforts, the Limerick women proved worthy Superleague winners, with Vanderwal ending up with 23 points.

details in Factfile

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