The Kings of Killester

by Karl Graham
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PYROBEL Killester are just a step away from all-Ireland glory as they reached the final of the men’s Hula Hoops national cup after edging a close tie over Dublin rivals UCD Marian 81-69 at the Neptune Stadium in Cork.
Jermaine Turner was the star performer as he registered an impressive 15 points and 28 rebounds for Killester. The veteran turned back the clocks once again as teammates Cian Nihill and Ciaran Roe also stood out.
The first quarter ended with Killester on top 24-17 after some good early scoring from the Northsiders. They continued their good shooting in the second quarter to stretch their lead to 10 points at the halfway mark.
UCD came out firing in the second half and after some big scores in the third quarter, they set themselves up with a real chance of progression.
However, cool heads emerged from the Killester pack when they needed them most and some fine shooting helped keep the rampaging UCD at bay and see the former into the final.
Killester head coach Bryan O’Malley spoke after the game about his pride at the team’s performance and what lies ahead in the form of Swords Thunder.
“I’m delighted for the club,” he said. “It’s great to be back [in the final] because it has been a while since we’ve been in it. I’m delighted for the group of players we have here as well. They’ve put it all in but we haven’t won anything yet.
“When you have two quality teams going against each other, small things are going to make the difference.
“We probably shot the ball better than they expected but it was to the standard we expected because they double and triple teamed Jermaine and gave us some wide open ones to knock them down.”
Despite their impressive performance, O’Malley knows only too well that his team will have to put in an equally good performance, or better, if they are to get over the final hurdle.
“We have a lot of hard work to do and we’ve lots to work on. We’re under no illusions – [Swords] Thunder are a really strong team and we know we will have our work cut out for us.”
Killester find themselves a long way off the pace in the Super League after a mixed first half of the season but they will be hoping a cup win can give them the boost needed to spear them on during the remainder of the campaign.
They have acquired nine points less than Swords in the league having played a game less but as we have seen already this season, anything can happen in the cup.
The final is due to take place at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on January 28.

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