Templeogue in dreamland after Super League success

TEMPLEOGUE made club history on Saturday night after taking the final step on the road to their first ever Men’s Super League Basketball title following an enthralling 96-93 point victory over Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in front of packed Oblate Hall in Inchicore.

The newly-crowned champions had to fight their way back from 18 points down at one stage in the first half against an in-form Tralee team that had won every one of their previous ten matches, including their encounter, the week before, against the only side who could have caught Templeogue, Griffith Swords Thunder.

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After watching his side fall 21-4 behind in the opening minutes of this tie, Templeogue coach Mark Keenan was forced to act swiftly and called for an early time-out to allow his players re-group.

“We had to settle it down” he told The Echo. “In the first couple minutes nothing was falling for us so we just had to hit the reset button, start again and relax.

“It was a bit all too easy for them [Tralee], but we knew that if we took away their second chances on offense and rode the storm we would be right back in it and we were confident it would be there for us to go and take.

“We did tighten up everything and we eventually clawed our way back. Still we couldn’t relax and we brought it to another defensive level.

“Fouls were important in this match. We got their big men in trouble while Jason [Killeen] and Mike [Bonaparte] stayed relatively clean.

“It did become a factor. It affected rebounding and everything else. They couldn’t be over aggressive in attacking the board after picking up their third foul” he pointed out.

Keenan was delighted with the level of support his side received in the Oblate Hall on Saturday saying “The atmosphere was great. It was really like a cup final.

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“The magnitude of the game and the support there was electric and, in fairness to Tralee, they brought a great game too. The standard of that game was just great.

“The support the club has given the team has been huge. Playing Killester away last week, you would really have thought it was a home game for us and it’s been like that throughout the year.

“One of the main things about this club is the connection between the Super League team and the rest of club.

“In a lot of other clubs you’d find there is a separation there. A void, whereas there is a really strong connection between our team and the younger players. There are several of our guys coaching under age players” he explained.

While his side did finish third in the table over the past two years and raised the National Cup for the very first time last year, Keenan admitted to being uncertain as to how they might fare this time around especially after losing some key personnel.

“I knew we had the capability but if I’m being honest, I was maybe unsure at the start of the season after losing the likes of Sean Flood who filled in that spot at the point guard so well. Conor Grace was also huge boots to fill.

“But getting Neil Randolph and adding Puff Somers to the line-up was great. Baolach Morrison was incredible at point guard.

“We knew Loran [Murphy] had that athletic ability. It was about him having the confidence to make those plays and take it on.

“He has grown in his time with the national team last summer and he’s matured this season into a really key consistent player” he added

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