LIMERICK’S two senior basketball clubs will seek a unique SuperLeague National Cup double on January 27.
Last weekend UL Eagles mens team and the UL women’s team booked their final places with semi-final success in the Neptune Stadium in Cork.
The men’s side are to play UCC Demons in their final, while the opposition in the women’s decider will be DCU Mercy.
“What a game it had pretty much everything – great defence both ends, some great offensive plays – it looked like we were dead and buried when we went nine down but fair play to the lads they came back,” said UL Eagles coach Mark Keenan after his side defeated 11890 Killester 75-73 in overtime.
Robert Taylor top scored for UL Eagles with 19 points.
Irish international Jason Killeen hit 18 points while the evergreen Matt Hall contributed 11 points to the final tally.
A blistering first quarter saw UL take the game to the Dublin side, Killeen and Taylor helping them to a 15-10 lead. However Eoin Chubb fired a superb three pointer on the buzzer to bring Killester to within two at the end of the first. (15-13)
UL slowly managed to eke out a lead and had a 33-27 half time advantage.
Jermaine Turner was instrumental in the Killester fight-back in the third. Killester began to take control. Dramatically, as the game ticked towards the buzzer, Matt Hall shot a huge three to bring UL back to within four - 49-45 with ten minutes left to play.
UL’s tenacity showed no signs of abating, but still Killester appeared the more likely of the two. To their credit, UL didn’t know when to lie down and soon they had the Killester lead down to four. Scott Kinevane levelled the scores with a minute on the clock to send the semi-final into over time.
Taylor was the hero in the end to book a final spot for the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the UL women were impressive 71-59 winners over Team Montenotte Hotel Cork in their semi-final.
“When you come down to play a great team like Montenotte it’s always going to be difficult. They’re a bit like the Kerry football team. They were going for their sixth cup final in a row. There was no way that they were going to lie down and let us take it,” said UL Head Coach James Weldon.
Rachel Vanderwal was the UL hero with 24 points. The Canadian is currently hoping to impress officials from the Great Britain Olympic squad in the hope of a call-up for the London Games.
Also on fire for UL was Michelle Fahy, who finished with 18 points.
Ahead of the semi-final, UL were boosted by the return of Rachel Clancy, who has only recently returned to Limerick. UL are chasing a first cup title since 2006.
Rachel Vanderwal contributed eight as UL surged into a 15-10 lead early on. UL led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter but the Cork side were ahead 35-31 at half time .
UL held a 49-47 lead heading into the final quarter.
The greater experience came to the fore in the final quarter as UL booked the final spot with a bit to spare over their Cork opponents.