Champions Maree finish National League campaign with a flourish

Champions Maree after defeating  Tolka in their final league fixture: Back row: John Finn, Ken Hansberry, Liam Conroy, Donie Greene, Enda Walsh, James Brophy, Matt Hornbuckle, Richie Finn. Front row: Mary O’Hagan, Paul Jacobsen, Colm O’Hagan, Charlie Crowley, Pádraig Burke, Cathal Finn, Jasiek Stec.

Champions Maree after defeating Tolka in their final league fixture: Back row: John Finn, Ken Hansberry, Liam Conroy, Donie Greene, Enda Walsh, James Brophy, Matt Hornbuckle, Richie Finn. Front row: Mary O’Hagan, Paul Jacobsen, Colm O’Hagan, Charlie Crowley, Pádraig Burke, Cathal Finn, Jasiek Stec.

First division league champions Maree will host Dublin’s DCU Saints in a new end-of-season competition, the Champions’ Trophy.

The new trophy pits cup and league winners across National Leagues against each other. Titans host Neptune of Cork, and the winners of both will play Killester and Blue Demons respectively the following weekend.

The competition comes hot on the heels of the completion of the National League in which Maree finished their first division season with a super display.

Having already claimed the title the previous week, Maree, playing with real confidence, overcame hosts Tolka Rovers by a whopping 108-46.

Liam Conroy was the game’s high scorer with 27 points.

Maree finished the league on 40 points with 13 wins and just one loss, six clear of Swords Thunder who held on to second place despite a 79-77 loss to Titans on Sunday in Cappagh Sports Centre. Cup-winners Titans finished in fourth spot on 29 points, just a point behind St Mary’s Castleisland.

Maree hit 32 points against Tolka in a powerful first-quarter display, moving the ball well to set up good outside shots, while their man-to-man defence was virtually impenetrable.

At one stage the score was 26-1 with Conroy hitting 11 in that opening period, while Colm O’Hagan was good for eight and Matt Hornbuckle seven. It was more of the same in the second quarter when Maree’s lead stretched further, with Pádraig Burke and Conroy notching seven and Cathal Finn six, helping Maree to a 59-16 lead.

Tolka never stopped playing and the pace of the game was maintained in the second half, but the hosts found it hard to convert the opportunities that came their way. Ken Hansberry, James Brophy and Donie Greene and Hornbuckle blocked shots and pulled down big defensive rebounds for the visitors, while at the other end Charlie Crowley scored six and Jasiek Stec hit a big three-pointer. Going into the final quarter, Maree were out of sight at 92-32 with Paul Jacobsen slotting two three-pointers.

Maree: Liam Conroy (27 ), Charlie Crowley (9 ), Cathal Finn (13 ), James Brophy (6 ), Donie Greene, Pádraig Burke (13 ), Paul Jacobsen (7 ), Ken Hansberry (10 ), Matt Hornbuckle (9 ), Colm O’Hagan (11 ), Enda Walsh, Jasiek Stec (3 ).

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