By Mark Jones
A last-second two pointer by Eric Blair gave Notre Dame a nail-biting triumph over St. Vincent’s in the National Basketball Cup final at Tallaght last weekend. A compelling game looked to be headed for overtime when MVP Stephen McGuirk brought Vincent’s level with his 30th point, but Blair got his vital shot away to earn Notre Dame a record fourth cup success.
It was also a desperately close run thing in the women’s decider as Wildcats edged out Meteors by 52-51. Mary Fitzpatrick hit the winning basket in the dying seconds.
Fights a family affair
Two sets of brothers, one from Belfast and the other from Sligo, won National Amateur boxing titles in Dublin last weekend. Harry and Liam Cunningham took the light fly and flyweight titles, respectively, while Alan and Stephen Reynolds got the verdicts at light heavy and heavyweight.
Neil Gough from Waterford picked up his eighth national title with a convincing win in the welterweight division. However, none of the winners hold great hopes of qualifying for the Sydney Olympics later in the year.
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Several may only have one opportunity to qualify when the relevant tournaments in Germany, England and Italy get under way in early March. Ireland has never before competed at an Olympiad without a boxing representative.
Harrington for Masters
Padraig Harrington will become only the ninth Irish player to compete at the U.S. Masters in April. Harrington’s invitation to Augusta’s prestige event was confirmed last week and he will join Darren Clarke in the field to give Ireland two representatives for the first time.