Billed as the “Clash of the Titans”, the Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League game between Templeogue Basketball Club and Garvey’s Tralee Warriors was exactly that, returning The Oblate Hall to its former glory as host to the biggest game in Irish basketball this season. The capacity crowd arrived early with high expectations, securing their seats to watch a thriller, and a thriller it was. In memory of the late Fr. Horan, who’s brainchild it was to build The Oblate Hall, and more recently Fr. Patsy, the hallowed court in Inchicore resounded to the chants of “Defence” and “Templeogue”.
Warriors, inspired by Kerry GAA legend Kieran Donaghy, got off to an amazing start and led 4 – 21 midway through the first quarter. However, the home crowd were not to be deterred and armed with their excellent posters, flags, drums and chants of defence, led my none other than former Templeogue player and current Spin 1038 DJ Martin Guilfoyle, encouraged Templeogue to bridge the gap to 14 points. Warriors taking the first quarter 17 – 31.
Steely determination, grit and superb defence saw the home side grow into the game. The amazing Lorcan Murphy seemed to literally glide through the Warriors defence to the thrill of the crowd. With an amazing display of skill and athleticism Lorcan scored 15 points in this quarter alone. Not to be outdone, Baolach Morrison standing at 5′ 9″, scored the basket of the game with an offensive rebound and put back over 6′ 3″ Kieran Donaghy. Puff Summers sank an under pressure three on the buzzer to leave only 6 points between the teams at the break, 48 – 54 to Warriors… game on!
Half time saw the crowd celebrate cup wins for Templeogue’s Under 12 and Under 18 sides, who earlier in the day had lifted the Dublin Men’s Basketball Board (DMBB) Cups to add to Templeogue’s Division 5 Junior Cup Final success the previous night. Basketball Ireland President Theresa Walsh presented both teams with their Cups during the break to rapturous applause from TBC’s Red Army and the visiting Warriors supporters.
With the capacity crowd on their feet looking for more, Templeogue and Warriors returned to the court and didn’t disappoint. Players, friends, supporters, referees all sat/stood side by side, ‘hanging from the rafters’… this was the only game in town!
The second half didn’t disappoint and started as it had finished. Captain Stephen James opened the scoring with a cool two, followed by a bucket and downtown three from Paul Cummins. With 6.58 remaining in the third the sides were level… all to play for. Stephen James’ immense defence on Warriors Trae Pemberton, ensured the visitors scoring was restricted. Scores from both teams were coming thick and fast. Another three from Puff put Templeogue in front, but Warriors hit back with 2 buckets from Warriors Dusan Bogdanovic before Paul Cummins slipped inside under the basket for a well worked 2. The third ended with Warriors holding on by the bare minimum, 73 – 74.
Heading into the fourth and final quarter and with crowd on the edge of their seats, the noise level was deafening. As news filtered through that nearest rivals Griffith Swords Thunder had beaten UCD Marian, Templeogue knew the result was in their own hands. This was their chance, their moment in history.
Paul Cummins hit the first basket of the last quarter, followed by a two from Stephen James. Mike Bonaparte sank two free throws, followed by a long range three. Jason Killeen went up and under to add to the 23 point quarter tally, but then… Paul, driving the lane missed and Mike rising high above the Warriors defence grabbed the offensive rebound… score and one! Mike scored another two to give Templeogue a 5 point cushion. Warriors were not done yet and as both teams traded scores, Trae Pemberton took a deep three from the corner. Mike jumped to block but the referees adjudged a foul so Warriors American went to the line for 3 free throws, scoring all three and bridging the gap to just one point. Warriors fouled Stephen James immediately, but they picked the wrong guy. He calmly walked the length of the court and sank the two. Templeogue’s Captain and lifelong player, leading by example.
With the scoreline now 96 – 93 Warriors were chasing the game and tried a long range three, the ball bounced off the ring but Jason Killeen rose high and secured the rebound, holding on tight for the last 2 seconds. As the final whistle blew pandemonium erupted…. game, set and match, Templeogue Basketball Club were the 2017 Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League Champions.
As Captain Stephen James proudly announced to the supporters before accepting the Super League trophy, “The trophy doesn’t just belong to the Super League team, it belongs to all of you guys and most importantly to Templeogue Basketball Club”.
On behalf of the Club thank you to everyone who has supported Templeogue down through the years, we really do have the ‘Best Fans in Ireland’ and to all our sponsors, Quillsen, Black Amber, The Terenure Inn and ProTeam.
MSL: TBC – TRALEE 96:93
Posted by Eagle Eye Pictures on Sunday, March 12, 2017
Templeogue Men’s Super League team are sponsored by Black Amber, Quillsen Estate Agents, Proteam Basketball and The Terenure Inn.
Let’s go Templeogue!!!