Donegal Town are celebrating their first ever basketball cup double success following last weekend’s mens and ladies finals victories over Letterkenny IT.
The ladies ran out convincing winners to retain their trophy, wHile the men recorded their first cup final victory in over a decade.
Donegal Town 56
Donegal dominated the game from the moment captain Charlene McHugh opened the scoring. McHugh’s basket was followed by scores from Tara Khan and Julianne Murphy. Maeve Liston has been a real find for Donegal this year and was a constant thorn in IT’s side.
Donegal were well in command 17-7 at the end of the first quarter. LYIT failed to make any inroads in the second quarter while Brid Murphy and Rosa Devaney kept the scoreboard ticking over for Donegal.
While Sinead Gallagher and Feena McAteer scored for LYIT, Tara Khan responded with six points and the game was effectively over as a contest by the end of the third quarter. Donegal stretched out their lead to 46-25 as Khan, Liston, Murphy all hit baskets.
Donegal’s ongoing underage policy is clearly paying off, a very young side played the majority of the fourth quarter, and with young players like Claire Brady, Ruta Belezentyte, Lauren Mc Sharry, Kelly Harron and Michaela Breslin the future looks very bright.
Charlene McHugh must now be one of the most decorated players in the history of the game, probably second only to her brother John in terms of trophies won.
MVP for the final was Tara Khan, who was a real threat going forward and in ‘D’ while Rosa Devaney pushed her all the way in a fine performance.
Donegal Town: Charlene McHugh (1), Maeve Liston (6), Tara Khan (22), Julianne Murphy (10), Rosa Devaney (6), Brid Murphy (4), Claire Brady, Kathryn Martin, Ruta Belezentyte (2), Michaela Breslin (2), Michelle Bennett, A Gillespie, Kelly Harron, Libby Duffy, Lauren McSharry. Coach Kevin Sinclair, assistant coach, Sheila Campbell.
Donegal Town 89
LYIT Ravens 82
Donegal got off to an electric start with captain Jordan Carty and Dillon Muldoon attacking the basket to surge into a 6-0 lead. LYIT took a little time to settle, Mark Cannon and Billy Banda eventually started finding holes in Donegal’s zone defence to keep things tight.
The opening quarter was played at a blistering pace with Ryan Malley making seven points. The inside battle between Dillon Muldoon and Cannon was riveting, Muldoon edged it, outscoring Cannon 9-7 to help Donegal to a 28-20 first quarter lead.
LYIT Cannon scored six in-a-row forcing Donegal into changes. Both sides began to run their benches, Leo McHugh was easily the most influential change. His athleticism caused IT all sorts of problems, his six points, coupled with another six from Malley saw Donegal lead 44-41 at half time.
Donegal really upped the pace in the third quarter. Muldoon hit a big three to stretch out their lead, then Malley and Carty took over, pushing the ball up the court. At one point the lead was 15. IT just about hung in there, thanks mainly to the very impressive Conor Boyle. He and Conor Reid reduced the gap down to five, before John Kennedy made two trademark baseline jump shots to settle Donegal nerves going into the last.
The final ten minutes saw some of the best Basketball played in AVS gym in a long time. It was score for score, with Malley and Carty showing the way. With four minutes remaining and Donegal winning by three Ryan Malley took over and he scored seven points in-a-row to finally clinch the silverware.
MVP was the hugely impressive Ryan Malley while Dillon Muldoon showed his class in a terific all round display.
Donegal: Jordan Carty (10), Ryan Malley (29), Gareth Britton (6), Jason Duignan (8), Dillon Muldoon (14), John Kennedy (7), Zak Balgoun (5), Leon McHugh (8), Kelvin Slowey, Conal Sweeney (2), Ray Balgoun, Daire Quinn, Paddy Molloy. Coach: Kevin Sinclair, Sheila Campbell.
LYIT: Mark Cannon (25), Stephen Cannon (10), Conor Boyle (19), Billy Banda (13), Troy Morris (2), Cian Walsh (6), Connor Reid (7), Shaun Wogan, Conor Dorrian, Gilbert Castillo. Coach: Kieran Walsh.