National League

Mar 24 2024

Pyrobel Killester win Super League after club’s men reach playoff semi-finals and UCC Demons take down Belfast Star

It proved a Super Saturday for Pyrobel Killester after their women’s team beat FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 to land the 2023/24 Super League title in the National Basketball Arena just hours after their men reached the last four of the Super League playoffs following their 83-70 road win over defending champions, Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU. UCC Demons again demonstrated their ability to win the big games, taking down top seeds, Belfast Star 113-111 in overtime on Sunday to also secure their place in the playoff semi-finals. 

 Pyrobel Killester celebrate following their win

Pyrobel Killester were crowned 2023/24 Super League champions after they produced a hugely impressive performance to see off FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 in Saturday night’s title play-off in the National Basketball Arena.

The Dubliners boasted five players in double figures by the close of proceedings, including game MVP Ieva Bagdanaviciene, who emerged top-scorer on 26 points, while Michelle Clarke made four of her six attempts from beyond the arc on her way to a total of 19.

Killester were on top at both ends of the floor, and despite Allie Navarette and Sorcha Tiernan managing 37 between them, Celtics were unable to work their way back after falling 13 points adrift by the break.

Indeed, great inside work by Jiselle Thomas, Keowa Walters and Claire Melia helped ensure Killester remained well out of reach in the second half.

 Ireland international and Pyrobel Killester player, Claire Meila, with the Super League trophy

“Defensively we’ve been really good all season and we score a lot of points as well” said Pyrobel Killester head coach, Mark Grennell. “I think tonight was a really good example of what we can do. The girls nailed it.

“It’s tough for a league to be decided on a single day, but we were that close all the way through.

“Liffey Celtics are superb and today wasn’t their day, but that can’t take away from a great league campaign, winning 17 games and only losing three” he added.

SETU Waterford Wildcats bounced back from their 20-point reversal at the hands of FloMAX Liffey Celtics the previous Monday to beat Catalyst Fr. Mathews 87-77 and book their spot in the last four of the Super League Champions Trophy in Mercy Secondary School on Saturday evening.

 SETU Waterford Wildcats player Jade Compton

Americans Jade Compton and Alarie Mayze proved a real headache for the Cork side, amassing 49 points and 26 rebounds between them as the hosts opened up a 16-point gap by the half-time recess.

And although five players finished on double figures for the visitors, including Ariel Johnson on 23, Fr. Mathews were unable to reel in their opponents.

Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell also progressed to the Champions Trophy semi-finals after they recovered from a disappointing second quarter to clinch an 80-77 home victory over The Address UCC Glanmire.

Both sides were deadlocked at 20 points apiece by the close of the first quarter, but the visitors grew hot in the second and opened up a 13-point advantage by the break, by which point Cheah Whitsitt had chalked up 19 points, eventually finishing with a huge 36, along with 19 rebounds.

But a combined 50 points from Kyaja Williams and Jayla Johnson propelled Brunell in front down the stretch and a late bucket from Aleksandra Macheta helped see them over the line in this Cork derby, which marked the end to a winning run of seven games for Glanmire that, incidentally started with a win over Brunell last month.

Despite Andre Nation putting up a game-high 28 points, Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU saw their pursuit of back-to-back Super League honours meet a premature end after they suffered an 83-70 home defeat at the hands of Pyrobel Killester on Saturday.

The defending champions held a narrow two-point advantage by the close of the first quarter, but disappointing second and third-quarter returns, that saw them outscored by 23 points, left them with a mountain to scale heading into the fourth.

They did manage to win that closing period, but not by nearly enough to undo Killester’s grip on this tie.

Paul Dick landed all three of his attempts from the arc on his way to a haul of 23 points for Killester while Troy Simons and Gregorio Encarnacion combined for a further 37.

“We knew going in that we had a massive task on our hands as Ballincollig had beaten Belfast Star, Tralee, Maree and Éanna since December on their home court” said Pyrobel Killester, head coach Jonny Grennell.

“We had timely contributions from all the guys throughout the game today and it was badly needed as Ballincollig were never going to go away.

“We’re delighted to get through and also delighted not to put a dampener on our Ladies team’s success today” he smiled.

UCC Demons showed yet again this season that they know just how to win the big games as they fought back from 11 points down deep in the third quarter to beat Belfast Star 113-111 in overtime in Sunday’s quarter-final fixture in De la Salle College.

The Pat Duffy National Cup champions, only the week before, had hauled their Super League hopes out of the fire with a big win over Flexachem KCYMS to clinch the last available play-off berth.

And they continued on to beat top seeds, Belfast Star in a clash that saw no less than seven players finish on double figures for the Cork side, among them Elijah Tillman, who chalked up a game-high 30 points and 17 rebounds, while Seventh Woods weighed in with 21 and both James Hannigan and David Lehane each put up 14.

Tamyrik Fields served up 25 points and 11 rebounds for Belfast, with Conor Quinn just one shy of that points total, but the homeside still came up just short in the end.

James Gormley drained a basket at the death to see Griffith College Éanna edge a dramatic 82-81 win over Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in their quarter-final encounter in Coláiste Éanna.

Facing a 13-point deficit at the halftime recess, the Dubliners produced a huge third quarter, outscoring their opponents by 16 in that period as Joshua Wilson and Sean Jenkins combined for 17 on their way to a total of 40 on the night.

It was heartbreak for Tralee, who played their part in an epic and ended up with four players on double digits, including Elijah Weaver (18) and Caleb Jordan (17).

A big second-quarter display in which they outgunned EJ Sligo All-Stars by 16, went a long way to seeing South Conference winners, Maree earn a 104-84 victory in Calasanctus College that sets them up for a penultimate-round clash with Griffith College Éanna.

Terence Lewis II finished up with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the homeside, while Tahmir Gadsden, Zvonomir Cutuk and Tom Dumont combined for a further 52 points and Eoin Rockall weighed in with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Their contributions proved essential in countering the 50-point tally for which Sligo’s Chrishon Briggs and Tom Child combined.


In the Division One playoff quarter-finals, Moy Tolka Rovers stunned Limerick Celtics by beating the South Conference winners 101-100 on the road in Crescent College. SETU Carlow fended off a huge challenge from Drogheda Wolves to win out 101-95 in Barrow Centre, while UCD Marian ran out 96-81 winners against Scotts Lakers Killarney in Oatlands College and Limerick Sport Eagles edged Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers 80-78 in St Mary’s Hall.


In the last of the Division One League Trophy quarter-finals, Limerick Sport Huskies weathered a huge fourth-quarter revival by Templeogue to win out 69-60 in Nord Anglia International School.

Results Super League Title Playoff

Saturday, March 23rd

Pyrobel Killester 90 - 62 FloMAX Liffey Celtics Super League Champions Trophy (Quarter-Finals)

Saturday, March 23rd

SETU Waterford Wildcats 87 - 77 Catalyst Fr. Mathews

Sunday, March 24th

Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell 80 - 77 The Address UCC Glanmire Super League (Playoff Quarter-Finals)

Saturday March 23rd

Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU 70 - 83 Pyrobel Killester

Maree 104 - 84 EJ Sligo All-Stars

Griffith College Éanna 82 - 81 Garvey’s Tralee Warriors

Sunday March 24th

Belfast Star 111 - 113 UCC Demons Division One (Playoff Quarter-Finals)

Saturday March 23rd

SETU Carlow 101 - 95 Drogheda Wolves

UCD Marian 96 - 81 Scotts Lakers Killarney

Limerick Celtics 100 - 101 Moy Tolka Rovers

Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers 78 - 80 Limerick Sport Eagles Division One League Trophy (Quarter-Final)

Saturday March 23rd

Templeogue 60 - 69 Limerick Sport Huskies