Templeogue raise Champions Trophy

TEMPLEOGUE finally got their hands on the Men’s Champions Trophy following a 77-62 point victory over Belfast Star in Sunday’s decider in DCU.

The game marked the team’s fourth appearance in the final in the last five years and their first time to finally capture the prize following previous defeats at the hands of UCC Demons and Garvey’s Tralee.

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They were not to be denied this time around though, but Templeogue Head Coach Mark Keenan insisted they were made work for it, telling The Echo “It was a tough match. It wasn’t really smooth going for us.

“Star have got some good players and their 7ft English player Mike Thiep caused us trouble with his height. We couldn’t get a good flow, but we had our moments when we dominated for two or three minutes.

“Neil Randolph was MVP. He put up some great baskets, a mixture of three-pointers and attacking the basket.

“Lorcan Murphy had four or five dunks, so very spectacular, Stephen James was great defensively and while Jason [Killeen] was a little quiet on offense, he had about 20 rebounds and scored a big three pointer in the fourth quarter that helped us to push on” he explained.

Up by a solitary point at the close of the first quarter, Templeogue opened up a five-point advantage by the halftime break as Jean Francois Basileu added six big points off the bench.

Great work from Randolph and Murphy saw Templeogue race out to a ten-point lead at the end of the third, but the northerners battled their way back to within two during the fourth and final quarter only to see Templeogue go on a 16-2 run that saw them comfortably over the line.

Looking back on the season, Keenan said “finishing second in the Super League and winning the Champions Trophy, we can’t be unhappy with that.

“We took it [the race for the Super League] right down to the final day and that shows just how consistent we have been over the last few years now.

“It’s a tough league to win and finishing in second place leaves that bit more motivation for next season. The players will be even more hungry for it

“The players have put in a huge effort and it was great to finish on a high. I’m just delighted that we got our hands on the Champion Trophy because it’s a really great cup. I’m very proud of the whole team” he added.

Having recently established an exciting  new partnership with Griffth College which will see the latter provide 12 full scholarships for six male and six female Templeogue BC players, the club are in a great position to attract top drawer talent for next season.

“With the new partnership with Griffith College it’s going to be different recruiting game for us” said Keenan.

“I’m going looking at America and Europe to get a good pro-level player that wants to do a masters here. Hopefully some of young guys can make the step-up too. It’s very exciting, but it [the recruitment process] has to start now” he added.

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