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Griffith Swords Thunder make history and claim first ever National Cup after win over Killester

Last year’s beaten finalists were in control for the entire game and could rely on some terrific depth from the bench.

Image: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

GRIFFITH SWORDS THUNDER made history this evening by winning their very first Men’s National Cup after a 72-51 victory over Pyrobel Killester at Tallaght’s National Basketball Arena.

The Thunder had four players who hit double figures – Justin Goldsborough racked up 14, Alex Calvexe put up a dozen, Charlie Coombes managed 10 while Jose Maria Gil Narbon was a standout throughout. The Spaniard hit 12 points and managed eight rebounds and was voted the game’s MVP.

Meanwhile, Isaac Westbrooks – the former Killester player – scored six points but added a further seven assists.

Killester relied heavily on Cian Nihill and he did finish as the game’s top-scorer with 16 while 42-year-old Jermaine Turner was hugely impressive, putting up 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Isaac Westbrooks celebrates after the game with his daughter Eabha Isaac Westbrooks celebrates after the game with his daughter Eabha. Source: Tommy Dickson; ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson/INPHO

But the huge difference came in the depth of the Thunder’s group. They managed 27 points from the bench compared to just 12 for Killester as Calvexe and Conroy Baltimore proved influential.

Both teams started nervously and it was a low-scoring opening quarter with the Thunder taking a 17-15 lead.

They consolidated that lead in the second quarter to lead by six at the interval and, as many expected Killester to rally after the restart, it never transpired. The third quarter proved the Thunder’s best all game as they put up 20 points and restricted their opponents to just 11.

Justin Goldsborough celebrates The Thunder's Justin Goldsborough celebrates after the game. Source: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Thunder were hoping to make amends for defeat in last year’s decider, when they went down to Templeogue and so, with a 13-point lead heading into the final quarter, they weren’t abut to let it slip away.

In fact, they gave up a measly 11 points and put up 19 of their own to bring some long-awaited silverware back to Swords.

Elsewhere on Saturday, BFG Neptune claimed the President’s Cup after getting the better of Ej Sligo All-Stars on a scoreline of 97-85.

Meanwhile, DCU Mercy are the 2017 U-18 Women’s National Cup champions after a comprehensive 75-47 victory over Ambassador UCC Glanmire.

And Cork’s Blue Demons claimed the NICC title after a 78-72 win over UCD Marian.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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