Swords turn out Moy lights

by Karl Graham

GRIFFITH Swords Thunder held SSE Airtricity Moycullen at bay 85-77 at the Neptune Stadium, Cork to put themselves within touching distance of all-Ireland glory, putting them through to the National Cup final.
Isaac Westbrooks, Jose Maria Gil Narbon and Conroy Baltimore all hit double figures to help Thunder reach the final for the second year in a row.
Westbrooks, the game’s top scorer, netted 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter to give his team a commanding 25-17 lead.
They continued to put scores on the board but Phillip Lawrence-Ricks and James Lougnane were having impressive games to keep Moycullen within touching distance as the half-time score sat at 43-39.
Swords continued to keep the score ticking over; however, the Galwegians began to throw everything at their opponents during the second half and managed to score several times from turnovers.
That being said, their fightback proved too little too late, leaving Swords as the team to battle it out with Pyrobel Killester in the final after the latter defeated UCD Marian in the cup’s other semi-final.
Head coach Dave Baker probably left the stadium a relieved man but he didn’t let that mask his excitement at reaching another final.
“It’s exciting. I’m really proud and happy for the team and the club itself. Fair dues to Moycullen, they didn’t back down and came at us. It was a tough game.”
On the game itself, Baker was much less enthusiastic: “For me, it was frustrating because we didn’t play well.
“We looked tired, stagnant and I hope there was no complacency within the group. I hope it was more tiredness than complacency.”
Swords went into the game as strong favourites but their inability to show that on the scoreboard, and allow Moycullen to get themselves back into the game was disappointing for Baker.
“It is obviously frustrating more than anything else.
“Obviously, a doubt comes into your head about are we going to do it but we had enough experience there and enough good quality players on the floor to close out a game.
“Unfortunately, Moycullen proved if you don’t close those types of games out, teams can come back at you.”
As well as a cup final to look forward to, Swords are also battling to win the Super League in 2017 as they try to keep pace with Templeogue at the top of the table. Baker hopes that his team can recover in time to continue fighting on both fronts.
“We’ve a lot to do now; we can’t let our league form drop either so we’re looking forward to the cup final,” Baker concluded.
The final is due to take place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on January 28.

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