The stakes do not get any higher, as this week the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght hosted Irish basketballs showpiece event.
The National Cup finals are where every team wants to be and this years event was a wonderful spectacle for those lucky enough to secure tickets to the sold-out arena.
The highlight of this action-packed weekend came on Friday night as Bord Gais Neptune defeated UL Eagles to end 21 years of hurt and claim their first National Cup since 1992.
Neptune are one of the celebrated institutions in Irish basketball and the long wait for this trophy ensured there were wild scenes of jubilation at the buzzer. It was a stunning performance from the Neptune players and for many, this win represented a career defining achievement.
For Neptune veteran Ger Noonan, it was a particularly poignant moment.
"I cant believe it to be honest. My best friend died ten years ago last week. He was part of the team. I think its fitting that Neptune as a team and as a club dedicate this win to Emmett Neville. Im absolutely wrecked but its worth it," he said.
Neptune coach Mark Scannell was keen to pay tribute to Noonan, "Ger Noonan cant walk some nights after training. His body is breaking down but you look at his performance tonight, absolutely top drawer, he said.
In the womens final, UL Huskies sealed another National Cup with a win over Team Montenotte Hotel Cork. While clearly inspired by the games MVP Michelle Fahy and the tenacious Rachel Vanderwal, the nature of the ULs win spoke to a fantastic collective effort.
Coach James Weldon was certainly keen to stress the commitment of all involved with this UL side," Im running out of things to say to the girls when they win trophies. I just want to pay tribute to our backroom staff. We are not really about old school coaching here at UL. Its a team effort and all the little things that people do add up to success."
While much of the attention was focused on the SuperLeague sides, there was plenty of other action to enjoy over the course of the weekend. For Brunell of Cork, it was a very special weekend as they captured a historic U18 and U20 Womens double.
Coach Kieran OLeary believes the victories are a sign that future success is imminent for the senior side. "We are in SuperLeague at the moment, and with back-to-back U-18 titles Im confident we are going to get to the top of the table in the next few years. This is a great achievement for the club. I cant say enough about those kids. They are brilliant."
A star in both age-groups, young Edel Thornton collected MVP honours in the U18 and U20 final scoring a combined 52 points in the games.
Not satisfied with her incredible weekend haul, she already has her sights on yet bigger prizes in the years ahead.
"We want to come back here again next year again and win the U-18s and U-20s again. That will set us up well for the SuperLeague. We have to keep doing the right things and not become cocky," she said.
Meanwhile Belfast Star coach Adrian Fulton was sounding a little more contented after his U18 Mens cup triumph, claiming " the search for the holy grail is over" after his side defeated Moycullen 68-57 in the U-18 boys final.
"The last time we won a club All Ireland title was 1989.We have been so close before. Weve lost 5 semi-finals and a couple of finals,but what these guys have done is absolutely incredible," he said.
For teams outside the elite SuperLeague, the Division 1 finals were held on Saturday afternoon.
Oblate Dynamos secured their first ever national title with victory over Tralee Imperials, a victory which coach Terry Staunton was struggling to digest at full time.
"This has been an amazing season. We were struggling before Christmas. We brought Jolie Niland back and she has made the difference for us. To get here was brilliant but to win it is just unbelievable. This win is for our fans. They have been with us every step of the way," Staunton said.
In the Senior Mens National Cup final, Blue Demons enjoyed a convincing win 76-62 over Team Garveys St Marys 76-62. Coach Cormac ODonoghue was pleased that his side got over the line after a tempestuous encounter.
"I let the lads know at half time that we needed to keep focussed and keep the head. They did that in the second half and I think we controlled the game from there. Hopefully we can build on this win now," he added.
While Thornton looked ahead, Luke Thompson - who collected the MVP honours in the U20 Mens Cup final after his Templeogue side defeated Killester 64 to 49 took some time to look back and thank those who had helped him and the team reach the winners platform.
The development of this team has taken place over a number of years. We are very grateful to all the people who have helped us along to get here," Thompson said.
Basketball Ireland Weekend Results National Cup Finals
All games took place at the National Basketball Arena
Friday January 25th
Men's SuperLeague Cup Final
UL Eagles 65 (30) (N Campbell 18; R Taylor 15; J Killeen 11) Bord Gais Neptune 85 (43) (M Mcginn 28; D Townes 23; G Noonan 14)
Womens SuperLeague Cup Final
UL Huskies 69 (33) (R vanderwal 26; M Fahy 14; R Clancy 13) Team Momtenotte Hotel Cork 59 (31) (G Dwyer 20; T Bacic 15; M Breen 10)
Saturday January 26th
Mens Senior National Cup Final
Blue Demons 76 (42) (B ONeill 23; K Hosford 14; T Priou 11) Team Garveys St Marys 62 (38) (J Tehan 15; B Clernon 15; D Griffin 14)
Mark Scannell reappointed as head coach of senior women's team - 4 days ago
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The Women's National League Committee (WNLC) of Basketball Ireland has reappointed Mark Scannell as Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Women's team. The news was announced by the WNLC this week, who currently oversee the Senior Women's Program in conjunction with the Elite Performance Committee (EPC). Scannell, who was Head Coach for the side for this year's European Championship for Small Countries, will take over the role once more for another two years up to August 2018. He will also be... [read more]
The Women's National League Committee (WNLC) of Basketball Ireland has reappointed Mark Scannell as Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Women's team. The news was announced by the WNLC this week, who currently oversee the Senior Women's Program in conjunction with the Elite Performance Committee (EPC). Scannell, who was Head Coach for the side for this year's European Championship for Small Countries, will take over the role once more for another two years up to August 2018. He will also be at the helm for the Small Nations Tournament 2018. 'I'm looking forward to it,' he remarked after the news was announced. 'Last time was a short cycle, we did a really good job and had a good summer. Even though our preparation wasn't where we would have liked it to have been, the team did a great job. Looking ahead now, what's good is that all of the staff I had involved over the summer are willing to stay on and work on moving forward with this team, which is fantastic. 'Now, we will be focusing on developing that squad, and bringing up some younger players to mix in with the senior and experienced ones that we have already. It will be tough, but we've a good two year cycle ahead of us, so it's very exciting times,' Scannell, who is currently head coach of reigning National Cup champions, Ambassador UCC Glanmire, continued. 'Over the summer we proved that we belong at European level and the squad worked well together, and showed that they can compete at that level. In fact, all I've seen so far bodes very well for the future.' Also speaking about the appointment, Commissioner of the Women's League and Chair of the WNLC Matt Hall stated: 'We are delighted that Mark has agreed to continue in the role of Head Coach of the Ireland Senior Women's team for another two years. He has had a very successful first six months back in international competition and it's a very exciting time for the women's game in Ireland. We would like to take this opportunity to wish him and the team even more success going forward and in the coming two years.' Elsewhere, there was more news on the international front this week as three more staff appointments for Irish basketball were also announced by the EPC. Mike Lynch was appointed Head Coach of the Men's Under 15 team, Karl Kilbride was appointed Head Coach for the Women's Under 15 team and Paul Kelleher was appointed Head Coach for the Men's Under 17 team. Courtesy of: basketballireland.ie
Best players of Irish Super League round 3 - 4 days ago
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American Chantell Alford (178-G-91, agency: Gamble Sports Management) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for league's leader Glanmire and that's her to receive a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 3. The 25-year old guard had a double-double of 25 points and twelve rebounds, while her team edged out Meteors (#7, 1-2) 62-59. It allowed Glanmire to consolidate first place in the Irish Super League. They maintain a perfect record without any lost game in the... [read more]
American Chantell Alford (178-G-91, agency: Gamble Sports Management) put on an extraordinary performance in the last round for league's leader Glanmire and that's her to receive a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 3. The 25-year old guard had a double-double of 25 points and twelve rebounds, while her team edged out Meteors (#7, 1-2) 62-59. It allowed Glanmire to consolidate first place in the Irish Super League. They maintain a perfect record without any lost game in the league. The season is still on an early stage, but Glanmire already had a very good start winning all 3 without losing a single one. In the team's last game Alford had a remarkable six three-pointers out of 8 attempts. It's her second year at Glanmire and it's hard to imagine this team without her. Boston University graduate has very impressive stats this year. Alford is in league's top in points (8th best: 16.0ppg) and averages solid 2.3bpg,60.0% FGP and 50.0% from behind 3-point line.
The second most remarkable performance in last round's games was -year old American forward Sarah Fairbanks (185-F) of DCU Mercy. Fairbanks impressed basketball fans with a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds. Of course she led DCU Mercy to another comfortable win outscoring Brunell (0-2) 80-48. The season is still at the very beginning and this victory may help a lot. Let's wait for the next round. Fairbanks is a newcomer at DCU Mercy and it seems she did not have too much trouble to become one of team's leaders. She belongs to the best scorers in the league with 25.0ppg (#1). Her other stats are also decent: 10.0rpg and 4.0apg.
The third best performed player last round was American Emma O'Connor (183-F-91) of second-ranked Liffey Celtics. O'Connor showcased her all-around game by recording 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the last round. She was a key player of Liffey Celtics, leading her team to a 68-63 win against NUIG Mystics (#6, 1-2). Liffey Celtics has a very good start of the season. But there were just 2 games played, so it's too early to judge them at this stage. O'Connor also has a very good start of the season with very strong stats. O'Connor has a great season in Ireland. After only 2 games, she made it on the list of the league's leaders in points with 22.0ppg (3rd best) and assists with 5.0apg (5th best).
Other top performing players last week: 4. Monet Neal (178-F-95) of Meteors - 18 points and 18 rebounds 5. Brittney Dunbar (173-G) of WIT Wildcats - 16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists 6. Ebony Wells (188-F/C) of NUIG Mystics - 21 points and 8 rebounds 7. Cathy Kavanagh (187-G-90) of WIT Wildcats - 16 points and 13 rebounds 8. Aoife Maguire (181-SF-98) of DCU Mercy - 10 points and 9 rebounds 9. Eimear Mairtin (164-G-90) of Meteors - 19 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists 10. Aine O'Connor (182-F/C-91) of Liffey Celtics - 6 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
Basketball Ireland Women's Super League 'It's great to win a close game like that - it's great experience,' said Courtyard Liffey Celtics Head Coach, Mark Byrne, after his side just edged NUIG Mystics on Saturday evening, 68-63. Emma O'Connor top scored for the Kildare team, netting 21 on the night. 'I'm delighted with our girls,' Byrne continued. 'They stuck to their task and did well. We're away to Glanmire now next and we're looking forward to that. Every time you play them it's anopp... [read more]
Basketball Ireland Women's Super League 'It's great to win a close game like that - it's great experience,' said Courtyard Liffey Celtics Head Coach, Mark Byrne, after his side just edged NUIG Mystics on Saturday evening, 68-63. Emma O'Connor top scored for the Kildare team, netting 21 on the night.
'I'm delighted with our girls,' Byrne continued. 'They stuck to their task and did well. We're away to Glanmire now next and we're looking forward to that. Every time you play them it's anopportunity to test yourself against the best.'
Speaking of Ambassador UCC Glanmire, the Cork side retained their lead at the top of the table with a 62-59 point win over Meteors, with Chantell Alford top scoring for Glanmire with 25 points. Elsewhere, a strong second half performance from Maxol WIT Wildcats saw them overcome Pyrobel Killester 65-60, while DCU Mercy had too much for Singleton SuperValu Brunell, running out 80-48 point winners, with Sarah Fairbanks netting 26 points.
Meteors 59-62 Ambassador UCC Glanmire Top scorers Meteors: Eimear Mairtin 19, Monet Neal 18, Shelby Smith 9 Top scorers Ambassador UCC Glanmire: Chantell Alford 25, Claire Rockall 13, Grainne Dwyer 10 Half time score: Meteors 31 - 39 Ambassador UCC Glanmire Maxol WIT Wildcats 65-60 Pyrobel Killester Top scorers Maxol WIT Wildcats: Cathy Kavanagh 16, Brittney Dunbar 14, Delacy Anderson 10 Top scorers Pyrobel Killester: Mimi Clarke 15, Jade Daly 14, Emma Sherwood 10 Half time score: Maxol WIT Wildcats 29-36 Pyrobel Killester Courtyard Liffey Celtics 68-63 NUIG Mystics Top scorers Courtyard Liffey Celtics: Emma O Connor 21, Sorcha Tiernan 17, Jazmen Boone 12 Top scorers NUIG Mystics: Ebony Wells 19, Brittany Glasco 16, Hannah Coen 13 Half time score: Courtyard Liffey Celtics 34-26 NUIG Mystics DCU Mercy 80-48 Singleton SuperValu Brunell Top scorers DCU Mercy: Sarah Fairbanks 26, Jasmine Wooton 14, Sarah Woods 14 Top scorers Singleton SuperValu Brunell: Amy Murphy 12, Danielle O Leary 11, Madison Ward 8 Half time score: DCU Mercy 43-28 Singleton SuperValu Brunell
Basketball Ireland Women's Division One Ulster Rockets are top of the Women's Division One table this week, after an 83-69 point winover Oblate Dynamos. The win this weekend was their second win from two games this season. Elsewhere, ITC Basketball got their season underway with a bang winning 63-39 against Marble City Hawks.
Oblate Dynamos 69-83 Ulster Rockets Top scorers Oblate Dynamos: Meagan Hoffman 18, Sam Massey 16, Kelsey Ellis 14 Top scorers Ulster Rockets: Mairead McNally 22, Mimi Troy 17, Carlee Lough 14 Half time score: Oblate Dynamos 33-37 Ulster Rockets Marble City Hawks 39-63 ITC Basketball Top scorers Marble City Hawks: Kelly O Hallahan 14, Aine Sheehy 7, Sheila Sheehy 7 Top scorers ITC Basketball: Megan Campbell 19, Jamiyah Bethune 11, Christine O Gorman 10 Half time score:Marble City Hawks18-38ITC Basketball
From : www.basketballireland.ie
The sports budget (Ireland) for 2017 has been cut by almost 30%, it was announced today (October 11th). Minister for Transport, Tourism and SportShane Rosssaw his department's budget increase by 72million but the allocation for sport went from 73.5m to 51.91m. Ross said that the decrease was due to the funds received last year for the constructionof the National Arena in Dublin. He said:'The only reason sports has gone down is the construction of the sports arena last year. It was a huge 22 million payment. 'I am happy we got a 4% increase in funding for my Department. It is well over the average.' Meanwhile, it was confirmed that horse racing is to receive an extra 4.8m, and there is also an increase for the Greyhound industry. Agriculture Minister Michael Creedsaid: 'A further 6 million has been allocated to the Horse & Greyhound Racing Fund, as per the Minister for Finance's commitment, and it will be divided 80-20 as usual between the two sports.' Details of another round of the Sports Capital Programme will be announced at a later date. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O'Donovan said: 'The capital allocation to Sport Ireland will provide for the continued development of the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown. 'This includes the completion of the National Indoor Arena and Office Accommodation.'
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