Win mentality made Marian
Boss hails McNulty factor as Students stun Killester
UCD Marian produced one of the most memorable upsets of recent years to secure a historic 60-57 victory over 11890 Killester in front of a full house at the National Basketball Arena.
It was Marian's first appearance in a National Cup final, and they grabbed the opportunity with aplomb, as they dethroned the reigning champions.
UCD responded brilliantly to the challenge of a first final appearance and head coach Fran Ryan could barely conceal his delight.
"We always believed we could win this," said Ryan. "The more people said we were going to get beaten by 10 or 12, the more we believed we could win this. These guys all trust each other. It's absolutely amazing."
Ryan added the team had done plenty of work to prepare mentally for the game.
"I have to say a special thanks to Enda McNulty (former Armagh footballer) who did a lot of work to get us ready mentally for today. I thought the way we performed and responded was exceptional.
"It's difficult to put into words at the moment. There is so much work done in this club, I'm just a co-coordinator really.
"It's just great for everyone involved. We'll have to wait a few days to let it sink in."
Ryan was also thrilled with the performance of 'MVP' James Crowder.
"James is a young player who is still learning at this level. He showed his strength today with the way he reacted after coming off the bench," he said.
In the women's final, DCU Mercy head coach, Mark Ingle hailed a "team effort" as his side earned successive National Cup titles at the expense of Team Montenotte Hotel Cork on a scoreline of 61-47.
The Dubliners collected their first National Cup last January when they defeated Montenotte and they inflicted more misery on the Cork outfit, greatly helped by an 'MVP' display from Suzanne Maguire.
"For 12 years people have been expecting her to play like that," said Ingle.
"Everyone knows she can. She has had some disappointing performances in finals over the years', but today she was brilliant and we're delighted for her."
The third quarter provided Mercy with plenty to worry about, as his side failed to score in the opening eight minutes. However, the coach was full of praise for his side's response.
"I was praying some of our shots would drop in the third quarter," added Ingle.
"I've been telling the girls all year, especially the ones on the bench that they had to be ready when called upon. Today we needed them to be in the third because our starting five weren't firing.
"They got us through it. I'm delighted that it was such a team effort."