Templeogue celebrate their National Cup glory. Picture: Martin Doherty

“THIS is all I wanted and everything I dreamed of,” said an overcome Black Amber Templeogue star, Lawrence “Puff” Summers this evening as his side were crowned Hula Hoops National Cup champions with a 68-62 point win over UCD Marian at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday evening.
“I lost a final with Kilkenny here four years ago,” he continued, “and I have a photo of my daughter crying because Daddy lost. I can’t wait to go home and put this medal around her.”
Indeed, the huge win for Templeogue over their south Dublin rivals this evening saw them complete a memorable double of Cup wins in one day, with their Under-18s overcoming Neptune in their decider earlier in the day.
In the big showdown this evening though, UCD threatened to take the lead with less than a minute remaining but a controversial late call with 15 seconds to go and two vital steals from Michael Bonaparte saw them close out the contest.
Marian did threaten to get back on terms as they burst forward for one last attack with a chance to draw level. But coach Ioannis Lapiakis was called for a technical foul for encroaching on the pitch, just stepping over the line as he encouraged his side into their final hurrah.
It left Conor Meany dumbfounded, saying afterwards: “Basketball is a game of emotion and all Ioannis was doing was encouraging our players to dribble the ball up court. There is no guarantee we would have levelled the game but don’t sicken a team in the manner we have been treated in the final possession.”
Early on, Templeogue controlled the early stages, building a 7-2 lead before UCD found their flow with a couple of Meany baskets reducing the gap while Dan James put the minimum between the sides at 17-16.
Scoring was low, though, with the shooting percentages remaining low, making it nip and tuck. Lorcan Murphy – who had a game high 23 points – was one man who was finding his range, helping his side eke out a 32-30 half-time lead.
It advanced to 35 each and then on to 50-45 in favour of Templeogue at the three-quarter mark, the west Dublin side etching out the narrow lead each time with UCD trying to come back.
Into the last two minutes, the gap was back at one before Murphy laid up to make 65-62 with 47 seconds to go. Thirty seconds ground down before UCD had possession and a final chance before Lapiakis’s unfortunate incursion.
Templeogue had the breathing space and could get the party started in earnest.
Templeogue coach Mark Keenan said: “I am delighted for the guys and although I still think we would have won that late decision has put a little stain on our win.
“UCD defeated us by 19 points a fortnight ago and we needed to tweak a few things and yes I got the response expected from this fabulous group of players.”