National League

Apr 10 2024

Preview: Champions Trophy Final

The Champions Trophy final is a tale of 21 days against 23 years.

That is how long it will have been since Pyrobel Killester and SETU Waterford Wildcats lifted a trophy at senior level at the National Basketball Arena when the two meet live on TG4 at 13:30 this Sunday. 

History won’t be in the minds of players as they step onto the floor though and with three of SETU Waterford Wildcats, Caitlin Gloeckner, Sarah Hickey and Orla Dullaghan tasting U20 Women’s National Cup success in January, it’s doubtful that the club will wait another two decades for silverware regardless of the outcome.

Personally, as cliche as it would sound, it’d be a dream come true,” said Wildcats captain Helena Rohan. “It’s a long, long time, over 20 years since the club has won a trophy at this level. So, it would be fantastic for everyone associated with the club at all levels, it would just mean the world.” 

The two teams have split their previous meetings in the Super League, each taking the spoils at home but for many neutral observers it will be Pyrobel Killester who are firm favourites to make it a second piece of silverware as the final buzzer sounds this weekend.

That thought process suits Rohan just fine: “They’re looking to do the double, so I’d say there’s very few that will put us as favourites. But you know what? We won’t mind that. We’re going to enjoy the experience of being in the finals.” 

Back to back defeats against Catalyst Fr.Mathews and Ulster University in February put an end to any hope of a first league crown since 1999, but a redemption arc including wins against the aforementioned Fr.Mathews side and their bogey team, FloMAX Liffey Celtics whom they were previously 0-3 against in 2023/24, has SETU Waterford Wildcats back on the precipice of history.

Jade Compton has found Alarie Mayze a nice complimentary piece since she made the move to the South-East and that duo paired with Sarah and Kate Hickey and club captain Helena Rohan is a formidable five capable of beating any team in the country on their day. 

 You can watch this Sunday's final live on TG4 or on 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the majority of the Pyrobel Killester side have been there and done it all before. Irish internationals Claire Melia and Michelle Clarke have won all there is to win in domestic basketball. Ieva Bagdanaviciene has been a key component of the recent success of the club and Bree Shelley and Sarah Courtney remain around the squad from the team which won the Paudie O’Connor Cup a year ago.

Throw into the mix the scoring ability and presence of Jiselle Thomas inside, along with Keowa Walters and Leilani Turner and it’s not hard to see how this rotation has led Pyrobel Killester to the brink of a double.

“It’s great for the club, especially having the two teams in it and after winning the Super League as well. It’s fantastic for the likes of Mimi (Clarke) and Mark (Grennell) and everyone just to be in another final,” said Claire Melia ahead of the game.

“They have a very strong team and every game is different. You have to just see how people are playing on the day. In every game some shots drop, others don’t drop, so we’ll just have to see what happens. There are players on both teams who have played in the Arena multiple times, so there’s no real advantage in that respect either.” 

It’s already been a season to remember for the fans of Pyrobel Killester. Should the club go on to complete a women’s and men’s double at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday afternoon, it’ll go down as a season for the ages.

Weekend Fixtures

Friday 12th April

BIDL Women's Plate

1800        Meteors v Dublin Raiders

BIDL Men's Plate

2000         Dublin Raiders v Mayo Meteors 

Saturday 13th April

U20 Men's National League Plate Final 

1100         Phoenix Wolves v Neptune

BIDL Women's Final 

1315         Claregalway v Liffey Celtics 

U20 Men's National League Final

1530          Tralee Warriors v Éanna Women's Division One Trophy Final 

1745          iSecure Swords Thunder v St. Paul's Killarney Men's Division One Final 

2000          UCD Marian v Limerick Sport Eagles / Moy Tolka Rovers

Sunday 14th April

BIDL Men's Final 

11:00       Tralee Warriors v Carrick Cruisers  Champions Trophy Final

1400          Pyrobel Killester v  SETU Waterford Wildcats Super League Final 

1630          Griffith College Éanna v Pyrobel Killester