It all came down to the wire in the NILL in the Final week. The Darkside had the advantage of only needing to draw their final two games to win the first season of the revamped DBLL. They would be stretched right to the end, let’s see how the action would unfold…
First game of the evening was the Darkside vs the Thunder. The Darkside were looking to avenge their only loss of the season which, so happened to be the Thunder’s only win of the season to date. It would be the Darkside who got out to an early two goal lead as Scott Heisler continued his hot hands scoring 2 goals early on. Sean Gibson would grab one back for the Thunder as they cut the lead in half. Heisler finished off his hattrick shortly there after while Eoin Parsons grab one goal to keep the Thunder in touch just before the half time break.
Coming out of the break the teams exchanged goals as the Thunder’s Gibson rattled off 4 goals in the second have giving the Thunder a late 6-5 lead. Paddy O’Leary would grab his second goal of the game with just under 10 seconds to play tying the game at 6 goals a piece. Gibson would finish on a game high 5 goals, while the Darkside’s Scott Heisler finished on 3 goals and 1 assist.
The result meant the StormTroopers would need to beat the Thunder in game two to have any chance of winning the league. Things didn’t start well for the StormTroopers as Gibson continued with his hot hand opened the scoring for the Thunder and grabbing an early 1-0 lead. Joseph Blitman would reply shortly there after for the StormTroopers. Dexter Blanc would retake the lead for the Thunder finding the net on a breakaway over the shoulder of Danny Jones. The StormTroopers would reply through Cillian Murphy and a pair of goals from David Lusby taking the StormTroopers to a 4-2 halftime break.
Lusby would grab his third right out of the blocks and extending the lead to three early on. Gibson would grab his second of the game for the Thunder and bringing them within two. Andrew Murphy then scored for the StormTroopers to regain the 3 goal lead before, Len Skelly and Conor O’Brien would reply for the Thunder and bring them within one goal. This would be as close as it would get for the Thunder as the StormTroopers would pour it on eventually putting an end to the Thunder’s season while leaving the door open for an epic finale. David Lusby lead the scoring for the StormTroopers with 3 goals, while Sean Gibson would also finish on a hattrick.
The scenario at the beginning of the game was a StormTroopers win and they win the league on goal differential a draw or a win for the Darkside and the Title goes the way of the Darkside… The final game of the evening was a very close affair and all to play for. The StormTroopers would get a dream start on goals from Paul Murran and David Lusby to take an early 2-0 lead. But, Paddy O’Leary had other ideas and would reel off 3 straight for the Darkside to give them a 3-2 half time lead.
With all to play for in the second half and only a goal separating the teams David Lusby would grab his second of the game for the StormTroopers tying the game at 3 goals each. Scott Heisler, who earlier injured his ankle, would restore the one goal difference. The StormTroopers would be rewarded on some aggressive fore-checking and Joseph Blitman would grab the tying goal. Mark Colgan would again pull the Darkside ahead by one. In the final 4 minutes, with a one goal lead the Darkside would go a man down and Cillian Murphy would tie the game.
Not content to sit back and with both teams vying for the winning goal and over ambitious check would lead to another StormTroopers powerplay in the final minute. With good ball movement and with the best attacking unit on the floor the StormTroopers would have 2 clear opportunities with the last one ringing off the cross bar. Time expired on an exhausting game and it would be the Darkside in a nailbiter claiming the 2012 NILL Championship. The Darkside will be presented with medals at the 2012 Ireland Lacrosse Awards night.
Players will be voting for the awards over the next week or so for league MVP, Defensive MVP, Top Rookie, and the ‘Happy Gilmore Award’ while the award for the Top Scorer of the 2012 Season will be awarded to Sean Gibson of the Thunder who finished on 34 goals in 10 games.
Next up for Ireland Indoor Lacrosse is the Inaugural National Indoor Provincial Challenge Cup which, takes place on Sunday, February 12th at 4pm in Loughlinstown Leisure Centre. This is expected to be a great showcase of box lacrosse in country and will be a great way to wrap up the 2012 Indoor Season.
Many thanks to everyone involved especially all those that helped take down the nets each week, referee, and especially everyone who participated!!!