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Irish Cup 04 - Finals
Demons, Limerick keep Cups in check

Senior Men's Final
Mardyke UCC Demons 86 (33) DJ Harrison 25, T Butler 24, S Coughlan 18
Neptune 83 (32) K Gamble 26, C Watson 24, D Langrell 13

Demons finished the Cup weekend in style by adding the senior Cup title to the Junior Cup won on Saturday. Pushed into overtime, Mardyke UCC Demons eventually defeated Neptune, 86-83 and will return to Cork with the ESB National Cup. 

With five seconds remaining in normal time, the teams were tied at 76 points apiece when a foul from Tim O’Halloran put Stephen McCarthy on the line with two free points. The usually reliable McCarthy cracked under pressure and missed both, forcing the game into extra time. A superb second half and an 18-point total earned Shane Coughlan the MVP award again this year.

Neptune started well with big 3-pointers from Dave Langrell and Kenny Gamble opening up a 4-13 lead four minutes into the game. Torrey Butler fought hard for Demons, hitting 6-points in the closing minutes to cut the game to 18-22 at the end of the first quarter.

An early basket from DJ Harrison, followed by a lay-up from Mark Michels and the game tied at 22-22 two minutes into the second quarter. The period continued basket for basket with Butler again making the baskets for Demons to edge a 33-32 lead at half time.

Demons took control early in the third quarter with 3-pointers from Brian Clernon and Harrison to open up a 9-point lead. Two 3-pointers from Gordon Fitzgerald and another from Langrell allowed Neptune back into the game and with 2 minutes on the clock, Langrell converted a free throw to level the game on 54 points. Two successive baskets from Watson gave Neptune the edge to lead 59-60 at the end of third period.

The fourth quarter was basket for basket with Fitzgerald and McCarthy hitting threes, while Coughlan added 8-points for Demons. With 1.47 on the clock, Gordon Fitzgerald fouled out of the game, allowing Coughlan convert a free throw to level the game, 73-73. Watson made Neptune’s next three points, while Clernon made a 3-pointer to level the game, 76-76 with .26 on the clock. McCarthy had the opportunity to end Neptune’s drought, but it was not his day and the game ran into overtime.

The final period continued basket for basket before a 3-pointer from DJ Harrison succeeded by a basket from Butler and Demons led 83-80. Watson converted a free throw followed by another field basket to level the game on 83 points with 28 seconds on the clock. With 8 seconds left, Harrison made the crucial 2-point shot to secure the victory for Demons, before Coughlan was back on the line with less than a second remaining. Unlike the pressure that faced Coughlan in 2003, Demons had the title secured, but Coughlan converted a point to finish it off.

Senior Women's Final
University of Limerick 69 (42) M Aspell 18, D Breen 14, J Aherne 13
Bausch & Lomb Wildcats 42 (19) G Dwyer 11, M Liston 10, L Palmer 9

A disappointing performance from Bausch & Lomb Wildcats produced a very one-sided Senior Women’s Cup final, with University of Limerick running away with a 69-42 victory. The absence of Nicole Conway was felt heavily by Waterford and were unable to threaten UL throughout the game. A superb performance from Jillian Aherne earned her the MVP award.

Wildcats struggled from the outside, failing to net a basket in the opening five minutes of the game, while UL opened up a 12-0 lead. The combination of Dearbhla Breen, Michelle Aspell, Bethany Schott and Jillian Aherne proved impossible for the Waterford women as they struggled under the boards, trailing 19-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

Three 3-pointers from Limerick in the second quarter furthered Wildcats woes, with contributions from Aherne and Breen stretching the lead 24-7. Lisa Palmer and Grainne Dwyer played hard for Wildcats, but were up against it, trailing 42-19 at half time.

UL were never in fear of losing the title throughout the second half, with 9 fourth quarter points from Niamh Mulalley ensuring UL’s domination. Orla Dempsey and Lisa Palmer fouled out of the game with five minutes remaining, and despite two 3-pointers from Miriam Liston, Wildcats went down by 29-points as UL continue their reign.

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