Maree BC has scooped this year's Hula Hoops Presidents’ National Cup for the first time, out-gunning Cork's C&S Blue Demons with an inspirational final quarter.
Overcoming favourites C&S Blue Demons by 78-64 to claim this year's showpiece, Maree BC coach John Finn described the victory as "brilliant".
"We knew we were lucky to be only three points down at half time as we hadn’t really played. Demons are so experienced and it was great to see the lads do well in the second half. It was brilliant the way some of the lads came on and just went for every ball, they never gave up.”
The two sides produced a thriller with the game tied nine times. C&S Blue Demons were clear favourites - looking to win their third title in fourth years - but Maree had other ideas. In making it to the final for the first time, they were determined not to spurn the chance of a trophy and they dug deep, had the crowd on their feet, and took control in the fourth quarter.
Demons were first off the mark before impressive Kenneth Hansberry opened Maree’s account. Paulius Peldzius and Eoin Rockall were also in scoring form for the Galway side, but they were matched at the other end by Brian O’Neill and David Murphy.
Demons held the lead at the break (38-34 ), after Shane McCarthy hit the target repeatedly, but Maree’s Cathal Finn and Rockall were linking well up at the other end to ensure an absorbing encounter.
Rockall, Finn and Hansberry were all on target for Maree in the third, but Demons still held the edge as the clock ticked into the last quarter (55-51 ). Maree, however, showed their true spirit in the final quarter with a display of pride and determination.
They slowly began picking away at the Demons' offence. Rockall inspired from the top of the key, Peldzius made his presence felt, and Hansberry was on target at every time of asking. Despite the best efforts of Buckley and McCarthy, there was just no breaking the momentum that was firmly in Maree’s favour, and they drove home to their first Presidents’ Cup title in style.
Maree BC: Cathal Finn 13, Padraig Burke, Colm O’Hagan, Kenneth Hansberry 18, Paulius Peldzius 19. Substitutes: Charlie Crowley, Eoin Rockall 21, Stephen Commins, Darren Commins, Darren Callanan 1, Enda Walsh 6, Adam Cox, Ciaran Blaney, Sergi Marti, EJ Lewis. MVP: Eoin Rockall.
• In theGalway senior division 1 league : Maree HC Financial had an 84-70 away win against Claregalway. Claregalway secured an early lead, but Maree were able to pull back from an 18-point deficit to win by 14 points.