National League

Apr 10 2024

Preview: Who will complete their story Griffith College Éanna or Pyrobel Killester?

Whatever the outcome live on TG4 around 6:30pm at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday, one club will write the final chapter in a compelling Super League season.

Griffith College Éanna can make it third time lucky in a championship game, atoning for defeats in the Pat Duffy Cup and another league decider in recent years. For Pyrobel Killester winning the men’s title has the potential to complete an unprecedented year of success for an Irish club. Their women’s team have already been crowned Super League champions and they may have just completed a double by the time Jonny Grennell leads his team out to warm-up. Either will be a fitting end to an entertaining season.

Both teams have had to banish some demons to get here.

Quite literally in Pyrobel Killester’s case. Their 98-82 win against UCC Demons in the last four avenged a defeat to the Cork side in the playoffs a year ago. They also confirmed that there’d be no repeat from Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU, ousting them 83-70 at the quarter-final stage on their run to the National Basketball Arena.

Finishing one spot ahead of their opponents in second place in the North Conference gave Darren McGovern’s Griffith College Éanna no easier task in reaching this stage. It took a miraculous James Gormley tip-in at the buzzer to nudge by Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, 82-81 on their home floor. That set up a rivalry game in the semi-finals against the team that handed them their Pat Duffy Cup final heartache, Maree BC. The two teams had already faced-off during the regular season and Griffith College Éanna were able to confirm their superiority in Calasanctius College, 90-77 two weeks ago.

 Neil Lynch (Griffith College Éanna) and Paul Dick (Pyrobel Killester) could prove key figures come Sunday evening. 

It's the third time these foes will have played this season and the record currently stands at 2-0 in favour of Pyrobel Killester. A late Paul Dick three-point shot proved the difference in a one possession game back in October, while it was a 50-point performance of the season by Kason Harrell that led to a 110-91 scoreline more recently in Coláiste Éanna. Given the rarity of such a performance in a championship game, odds are it will be another nail biter throughout Sunday evening.

“We’ve played them twice already this year and we lost both. So going into this game, we’re kind of the underdogs,” said Griffith College Éanna’s Nathan Comerford. “We’ve been going really well the last few weeks. We’ve been training really hard, the team’s doing really well together. Everyone’s playing as a real team at the moment. It’s going to be a very good game and hopefully we can go and get a win.”

“It would be huge for us because we’ve been to three finals in the past three years. This is our third and we’ve lost the previous two. We haven’t been able to get over the hump. So to win this one for the whole club, it would just be huge.”

A mid-season addition to the Pyrobel Killester ranks, Troy Simons is very well aware of the scale of the achievement that lies before them: “Yeah, I feel like everybody’s excited for us to win two trophies in one day. That’ll be a huge accomplishment. I don’t think we’ve done that before and for us to have the chance to do it on Sunday. Yeah, I feel like it’d be a great accomplishment.”

He also knows all too well the threat posed by the team from South Dublin.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. You know they’re going to make some adjustments and manoeuvres to try and slow us down. We just have to go out there, just play our game, play defence. And the defence is going to create for our offense,” he added.

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