“We weren’t going to allow them to bully us”- McGovern

By Stephen Leonard

DBS Éanna Head Coach Darren McGovern has pointed to superior fitness and an improved reaction on rebounds as key to seeing them beat Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 78-63 and secure first ever appear-ance in the Hula Hoops Pat Duffy National Cup.

Only a week after they had been pipped by the same opposition in Super League action, Éanna were determined to exact revenge, and they did it from two points down at the halftime recess.

Eanna 160120

DBS Eanna head coach Darren McGovern speaks to his players after the Hula Hoops Men's Pat Duffy National Cup Semi-Final

Indeed, the Rathfarnham side served up an impressive third quarter at the end of which they led Warriors by six with Josh Wilson and Stefan Zecevic on fire as they combined for a huge 46 points.

The Rathfarnham side also turned the screw defensively, limiting the contribution of Tralee's Paul Dick, Daniel Joku-baitis and Eoin Quigley to run out comfortable winners, subsequently setting up a cup decider against neighbouring rivals Templeogue.

“The game plan was to just stick with them in the first half and, if we were there or thereabouts, we were confident in our own fitness levels to see us through” McGovern told The Echo.

“We always felt that they couldn’t run with us for the entire game and it showed in the second half.

“There were other things too. We battled harder [than the previous week] and made it more of a contest. We were going to get in on them first and not allow them to bully us.

“They’re still the best offensive rebounding team in the league and I think they won almost as many rebounds as they did against us last week, but the difference was we were ready for it. We crowded them out and didn’t allow them to score as much.

“The crowd there and the energy was amazing. I think by late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, most of the neutrals were starting to side with us.

“Josh [Wilson] really took the game to them and Stefan [Zecevic] turned in a monster rebound performance. We had him down for 23 so he really dragged us over the line in that regards.

“Mark Reynolds put in a big shift and Hillary Netsiyanwa hit one of the most amazing three pointers. It was just a great all-round performance” he recalled.

Certainly Éanna were determined to bounce back after last week’s loss to Tralee, with McGovern saying “Losing a match forces you to work even harder. And I think losing to them the week before, we knew what we had to do. We changed some things regarding the rebounds, free throws and how we reacted from long shots.”

Yet while the team can look forward to a mouth-watering National Cup Final showdown against neighbouring rivals Templeogue, McGovern an co will be firstly turning their attention back to the Super League and the visit of Killester this weekend.

“My job is to get the players focused on Killester next Saturday” he stressed.

“We’re still well in there in the league and Killester are on a big slide at the moment so we’ve got to make sure we don’t slip up.

“If we can get past them, we have a good week to focus on Templeogue. The last game between us [and Templeogue] was pheno-menal. We ended up losing by about 11 but the game was a lot closer than that.”

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