Ulster University Elks and Courtyard Liffey Celtics were crowned Hula Hoops 3×3 men’s and women’s champions respectively on Saturday, winning out two thrilling finals to scoop the titles.
The tournament took place on Bray seafront and attracted a large crowd throughout the day as the weather largely held out and news of the action spread out across social media.
The staging of the tournament was handled by Verve, the Live Events Agency who manage much of Guinness’ activation around their different sponsorships and were doubling up with activity at the RDS for Leinster’s Guinness PRO14 win over Munster.
Ulster put on one of the performances of the day as they came into the tournament as one of the underdogs of the event, as they play their club basketball at 5v5 level in Men’s Division One, and were drawn in a tough Pool B alongside Super League sides Maree and Templeogue, as well as fellow Division One team, Fr Mathews.
The team are sponsored by Randox Healthcare, major backers of sport at the University and also of the Aintree Grand National, one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Finishing second in the pool stages, Elks had a big test in the semi-final going up against winners of Pool A and reigning Hula Hoops 3×3 champions and Super League side, DCU Saints. Elks just couldn’t miss though and stunned the crowd with the upset of the day, delivering a tournament-ending 21-9 blow to DCU Saints to tee up a grand finale with Templeogue.
This showdown was already poised to be a thriller, with the two sides having gone to overtime earlier in the day in the group stage, where Templeogue just pipped it by one point.
Trailing by a single point with less than 50 seconds to go, the Ulster team kept their cool and scored the winning basket to land the title 21-20.
Courtyard Liffey Celtics crowned off a historic season for the Kildare side as they picked up yet another round of silverware when they won out their final against Fr Mathews.
Image Credit: Ray McManus, Sportsfile