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Irish Cup Finals 2005
Tralee are roses, Killester shock UL 


Tralee 90 (49) Roy Smallwood 31,  Chris Craig 22, Luke OíHea 16
St Vincentís (42) Peter Madsen 22, Paul Tonkovich 18, Stephen McGuirk 16

Abrakebara Tigers won their first ever National Cup title in an outstanding game of basketball in the National Arena, beating St. Vincents 90-81 to the tajke prize to Tralee.

Most Valuable Player Roy Smallwood started the first quarter like a man on a mission, hitting three baskets in a row, scoring 9 of this teams first 14 points, ably assisted by Tigersí player/coach Chris Craig - this was to set the pattern for the game. Roma St Vincentís hit back with a double and a three pointer from Trimmer, while Madsen also hit two three pointers, the second of which made the score 18-16 to Tigers, with just over three and a half minutes to go. Teahan then scored on a break, which Vincentís answered with a basket and two free throws, only for Micheál Quirke to score on the buzzer, leaving the score 22-20 to Tigers at the end of the first.

This was a game that had everything, featuring excellent inside play, both offensively and defensively, as well as top class perimeter shooting. It was very physical, with Smallwood the standout player, and Roma St Vincentís had their hands full trying to keep him quiet. The second quarter was end-to-end stuff, and the lead changed hands six times in a frantic three minute spell mid way through the quarter. With Vincentís in front 41-42, baskets from Luke OíHea, Smallwood and Quirke sent Tigers in 49-42 in front at half time.

The third quarter opened with a three from Craig, and Vincentís hit back through Tonkovich. With three minutes gone, Tigers stretched the lead to seven, but then Roma St Vincentís then went through a purple patch, cleaning up on rebounds at both ends of the courts. During this time, Tigers failed to score from play for almost six minutes, with Vincentís hitting baskets through Tonkovich, Emmet and David Donnelly and a three from Madsen, to give them a 63-60 lead. Yet again Tigers replied through Craig, and Quirke scored on the buzzer to give them a one point lead at the end of the quarter, 64-63.

The final quarter saw Smallwood open the scoring again. When Tonkovich picked up his fourth foul with two minutes gone things looked ominous for the Dubliners. Craig, leading his team magnificently, scored two from the line, followed by a three pointer, and then he stole the ball to set Kieran Donaghy up for another three pointer, and Tigers were on their way, leading 76-67 with six minutes to go. Another three from Craig, followed by three baskets from Smallwood, saw them extend the lead further, and despite scores from Madsen there was no way back for Roma St Vincentís. 

Chris Craig, appropriately, sealed the game for Tigers with three from four on the line, and his team deservedly won, 90-81, to send the Kerry contingent home delirious.


UL Aughinish 54 Nessa O'Keefe 16, Michelle Aspell / Dearbhla Breen 13
DART Killester 57 (Catriona White 13, Suzanne Maguire 10)

DART Killester sensationally won the Women's National Cup in the National Basketball Arena, beating champions UL Aughinish 57-54 and ending the holders' unbeaten run that stretched back to December 2002.

The Dubliners started the game the better, looking the more fired up of the two teams, and they raced into a 13-4 lead. Once again, UL looked to their Irish star Michelle Aspell, who delivered a three pointer and points from the free throw line, and UL had the lead at the end of the quarter 19-17.

Excellent defensive play from both teams ensured that the second quarter
had a low scoring percentage and a high turnover rate, and the game
remained tight, UL holding a slight lead 28-24 at half time.

In the third quarter Killester scored only once in the first five minutes, although UL were still only six points ahead. Gillian Morris then really came into the game, scoring 3 baskets, and along with another from Kissane, they levelled the score. UL responded through Nessa O'Keefe, and the teams went into the final quarter with just a point between them, UL ahead, 42-41.

With five minutes gone in the fourth, the scores were all square yet
again, 48-48, thanks to a three from MVP Caitriona White. She then added
another two baskets, and suddenly there was daylight between the teams,
and UL Aughinish looked in trouble. Neither teams were giving an inch,
diving for every ball, and Michelle Aspell brought it to a one point
game again with two minutes to go. White then hit another two points for
Killester, and with 43 seconds remaining Aspell was on the free throw
line, but scored just one. With 29 seconds left Suzanne Maguire scored
one from the line, to make the score 53-56. Ashely Luke added another
from the line, and despite two 3-point attempts from Dearbhla Breen, UL
could not close the gap, sending the DART Killester fans wild.

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