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O'Neill refusing to dwell on cup exit at hands of Templeogue


By David Kelly

It has been too long since Belfast Star had a good run in the National Cup and their exit at the hands of Templeogue will go down as a huge missed opportunity.

There is no doubt that Star have moved forward by some distance from last season but on Saturday night they travelled back from Dublin wondering what could have been after going down 90-81 in the last 16 of the competition.

Coach Darren O'Neill insisted there was no point dwelling on the loss as they have three tough games coming up in the All Ireland Superleague, but nevertheless admitted there was a sense of frustration in light of the loss.

"Losing away to Templeogue, the champions, is no disgrace and not many teams would relish going there in the cup but this was a game we could have won," said O'Neill.

"We just didn't play consistently enough throughout the whole 40 minutes. We played in patches. At one point in the third quarter were behind by 17 points and then made it a three-point game but didn't convert a three-pointer and that allowed Templeogue to get away from us again.

"So there's no doubt that we need to improve on handling the big moments in games a lot better than we are at the moment but we will do that - it's a learning experience for this set of players."

He added: "Also we know that defensively we can be a lot better. It's disappointing to be out of the cup and now we have to just focus on the league because we have big games against Demons, Templeogue again and then Marian."

Surprisingly for Star, Clement Kulinicz failed to put a point on the board which arguably proved decisive in regards to the outcome, though Keelan Cairns came up with 22 points - his highest tally of the season.

One crucial stat, similar to last week when they lost to Killester in the league, was Star only converting 50% of their free throws.

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