In what has been tagged as being on of the most dramatic division one men’s finals ever, Team Garvey’s came up trumps and added the National league title to their earlier Cup title to finish off the season unbeaten.

Garvey’s got off to a poor start in Saturday’s final at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.  With 6.5 minutes gone in the first quarter they trailed 11 points to nothing.  The St. Mary’s side have, throughout the season set the pace for their games by taking an early lead but this was not the case last weekend. Their opponents, Titans of Galway, got off to a roaring start with threes from Sean Carroll and Rimyus Visokas and inside scores from Costello and Peldzius.
Player coach Brian Clernon took to the court with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter and the direction of the game changed immediately. Up to this point Garvey’s players had been putting up good shots but had failed to convert, however in the dying minutes of this first quarter Clernon, John Galvin, Michael Broderick and Dan Griffin all registered scores to see the Castleisland side come back to within three points of their opponents at the end of the first.

Viktoras Velykis hit two inside to put Garvey’s ahead for the first time early in the second quarter, Star player Declan Wall found his target while MVP for the game, Brian Clernon hit three big ones from outside while Galvin  did the work inside, Peldzius continued to sink baskets for the opposition but it was Garvey’s who held the half time lead at 41 points to 36.

The third quarter saw Titans have the upper hand once again with a spread of early unanswered scores. As the quarter progressed Garvey’s came back and a late steal and basket from John Galvin brought St. Mary’s back to within a basket at the end of the third.

The fourth quarter was not one for the weak hearted. Titans had possesion but John Galvin had a steal which he converted, he added another and Declan Wall copied, all from fast breaks.  Garvey’s led 59 to 55 one and a half minutes into the final quarter. Costello and Wall exchanged baskets, both sides converted from the free throw line and Griffin hit another for Garvey’s. Captain David O’Keefe, Pledzius and Visokas continued to shine for Titans who went up one with 2.29 on the clock. Dan Griffin put St. Mary’s back on top and Peldzius and Tom Fleming exchanged three’s. Visokas made another and Peldzius converted from the free throw line to see Titans lead 79 to 73 with just 1.13.  Brian Clernon took a time out to remind his side that the game was far from over.  How right he was, Tom Fleming hit a three to bring it back to three with 1.03 remaining and the Castleisland side saw light once again. Sean Carroll further extended Titans lead but Clernon reduced it by one from the free throw line. The scoreboard read 81 to 77 in favour of Titans with 36 seconds remaining.  Titans took a time out with 33 seconds remaining, Peldzius had an opportunity from the free throw line but failed to convert, Brian Clernon won the rebound and Garvey’s set up their offense. With just over 25 seconds remaining Garvey’s trailed by four points and just when it looked like their perfect season might not have the fairytale ending they had hoped for, super coach Clernon hit a three. 25.8 seconds remained, Titans had possession but they were now not as confident as they had been just 60 seconds earlier and they turned over the ball.  Brian Clernon call a time out with 22 seconds to play, he once again reminded his team that the game was not over. Titans led  81 to 80, Garvey’s had possesion from the half way line. The clock ran down from 22 to seven when Declan Wall made a pass inside to Dan Griffin who duly sunk the basket that will be talked about forever more in Castleisland. Garvey’s were back on top, 82 to 81 with seven seconds to play, they defended expertly and Titans were reduced to forcing a shot just before the final buzzer, they failed to hit the target and so the St. Mary’s claimed their first ever National league title in what was a year that will be hard to top.
Team Garvey’s St. Mary’s were unbeaten all season in all 15 league games and in their four cup games.  For some it was a dream finallycome true, for others it is a dream start to their basketball careers, for club and panel it is an achievement to be extremely proud of.

Final Score: Team Garvey’s 82      Titans 81
MVP for the game was Team Garvey’s player coach Brian Clernon.
Team Garvey’s: Declan Wall 21, John Galvin 17, Brian Clernon 15, Dan Griffin 14, Tom Fleming 6, Viktoras Velykius 6, Michael Broderick 4, Ruairí Rahilly, Maurice Casey, Donal McCarthy, Declan Cahill, Conor Brosnan,Jack Kirwan, Liam Brosnan and Joe Watson.

March 2010.

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