There was no final glory for Letterkenny Blaze as they succumbed to a strong Templeogue side in the U-18 National final on Saturday.
Letterkenny Blaze 48 (21)
(A McGeever 16, T Hickey 12, C Hickey 11)
Templeogue 57 (24)
(Flood 32, E Kiernan 12, E O’Connor 4, O Arcilla 4)
MVP: Sean Flood (Templeogue)
Templeogue captain Sean Flood was the matchwinner for the Dublin side, hitting more than half their points total in the final at Dublin’s National Basketball Arena.
Flood scored an amazing 32 points, 15 of which he converted in the third quarter of the game, as well as also ending with 3 steals and 4 assists. His performance in front of the basket was easily enough to see him named the MVP of the game.
It took almost 6 minutes for the games first basket to be scored. After a lot of near misses it took Matthew Deeney to open the scoring and put Letterkenny into the lead. Deeney converted a pair of free throws and forward Andrew McGeever opened his account by scoring 4 points to give Letterkenny a 10-6 advantage at the end of the first period.
Tensions mounted between the Letterkenny players and the officials in the second quarter of the game as the Donegal side felt that a lot of 50/50 decisions were unfairly going against them.
Despite a quick 6 points by McGeever to extend their lead, the Donegal side quickly fell victim to three long range efforts from Templeogue’s Flood who easily sunk the baskets to rack up 9 more points for himself and his team. Floods multiple 3 point shots were enough to see his team take a 3 point lead heading into the half-time interval.
Flood’s impressive form continued after the break with him converting a further 15 points to bring his total to 27 and see the team from South Dublin open up the gap even further. Floods performance in the third quarter even overshadowed that of Letterkenny forward Tadgh Hickey. Hickey lead a one man assault against the opposition defence that saw the Donegal side reduce the deficit once again to 3 points.
Despite a high quality attacking display from both teams in the final quarter, the winning margin never decreased by more than 6 points for Templeogue as they held back Letterkenny long enough to prevent the team from Donegal from doing any real damage and achieving a late comeback. A final flurry from the South Dublin side saw them increase their winning margin to 9 points which was enough to see them crowned the U18 Men’s National Cup champions for 2014.
The game was uneventful for the most past with the only other standout performers on the day being Templeogue’s Eoghain Kiernan and Letterkenny’s Cian Hickey, both of whom impressed during their teams offensive and defensive plays.