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Double delight drives Belfast Star to Champions Trophy final

The Belfast Star team that scored two brilliant wins at the weekend The Belfast Star team that scored two brilliant wins at the weekend
By Staff Reporter

BELFAST Star have advanced to their first national final in 15 years after they beat all the odds last weekend to deliver two stellar displays.

It means that in two weeks’ time, they will face a talented Templeogue side in the Champions Trophy final at the DCU sports complex in Dublin.

Star were handed the toughest of all routes to the final as they were drawn away to UCD Marian in the quarter-final on the Saturday with the winner then facing a gruelling semi-final visit to Tralee on the Sunday.

First up on Saturday afternoon was the UCD Marian game with Star facing their conquerors in the National Cup semi-final.

Star began with a lot more hunger than the Dublin men and built up solid leads at the ends of quarters one and two.

It was in the second half, however, that Star really put the pedal to the metal as Mike Davis and Conor Quinn rampaged through the Marian defence at will en route to an 84-43 hammering of the home side.

Star must have anticipated this win because no sooner had the final buzzer sounded in Dublin than the Belfast men hit the road to their hotel in Tralee.

If Marian had succumbed easily in the end, there was no way that Super League winners and current Champions Trophy holders Tralee were going to do the same on Sunday afternoon.

Yet Star led the action for the entire game, running into a deserved 35-43 lead at half time.

Good scoring from Conor Quinn and CJ Fulton kept their scoreboard ticking over in the face of pressure from Tralee’s Eoin Quigley and Keith Jumper and Star held on to win out in impressive style, 65-81 in the end.

As usual this season, American Mike Davis was to the fore once more for the Belfast side, finishing the Tralee game with 21 points on top of the 26 he hit against Marian 24 hours earlier.

There were also great scoring performances over the weekend from Conor Quinn, Paddy McGaharan and CJ Fulton.

Speaking after his hectic weekend, Star coach Adrian Fulton said: “I’m very pleased with the attitude of our players and they fully deserve to be in a national final.

“Their commitment all season has been rewarded today, but we want to go all the way now.

“Tralee played really hard as you would expect from the league champions. I’m sure they expended a lot of energy seeing out their league win last weekend, but that being said, they didn’t make it easy for us.

“I’m delighted with our entire squad over the two games this weekend, especially players like Mike Thiep who was huge for us when we needed him against the height and strength of Tralee.

“There’s no doubt about it, we will be up against a very, very tough Templeogue side in the final, but we will be giving it a real good go.”

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