Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell will into tomorrow’s Paudie O’Connor National Cup semi- final against DCU Mercy as rank outsiders when the sides clash at the Neptune Stadium.
It has been a difficult season for the Northside club as their league record of 2/11 shows their level of inconsistency.
There has been little flow to Brunell’s game this season and unless they produce a season best they will surely struggle in this semi-final.
Coach Tim O’Halloran began the season with the intention of playing Lithuanian Greta Tamasanskaite, victory scholar American Aryn McClure and Trish Byrne who was a revelation last season.
The biggest problem for coach O’Halloran was the loss of Irish players Amy Murphy, Simone O’Shea and Amy Waters.
To be fair when you have three Women’s Super League teams in this city the standard of Irish players dilutes and with Murphy and O’Shea opting to play with Fr Mathew’s the pressure was immediately on Brunell.
Amy Waters had made it known she had decided to move away to Australia and suddenly the alarm bells were ringing louder at the club.
Three games into the season and coach O’Halloran decided he needs a taller American player and he duly replaced Byrne with Treyanna Clay.
The end result hasn’t been positive but the one plus for Brunell is that Clay had her best game of the season against tomorrow’s opposition when the sides clashed in Dublin.
After witnessing Clay play in a number of games this season lack of urgency in her overall game is evident.
Looking at various Americans at all levels over a 38-year spell in this country the players that consistently stood out were the ones that played with a consistent hunger.
Aryn McClure has also been a disappointment for a player that played college ball at Quinipac University.
In this semi final the Brunell faithful will throng the Neptune stadium and both Americans will have to produce a season best to make this game a contest.
The one plus for Brunell is they have a quality Lithuanian professional in Greta Tamasanskaite who is possibly the best shooter in this country at this level.
The one problem for Tamasanskaite is she finds it hard to get clear looks as her team’s tactics in the offence court doesn’t revolve around making life a little easier for the ace shooter.
It is well known no matter how good your professionals are the contributions of your Irish players must be of a consistent nature and Brunell are certainly struggling in that department.
No matter what your skills you have on court you cannot get away with a lack of fitness and that has been a major problem for this Brunell side.
Danielle O’Leary is a player capable of hurting many sides with her outside shooting but in this game she will have to play at both ends of the floor.
Katie Walsh in her first season playing at this level is doing reasonably but she will have to be smarter with her shooting options against the shrewd DCU defenders.
Sinead O’Reilly after a four-year stint out of the game has gradually got up to speed and the one guarantee you will get from the former Glanmire player is a wholehearted display on the boards.
The mood in the DCU Mercy is naturally buoyant as coach Mark Ingle looks forward to another great occasion for his club.
“We have had a great start to the season in our league campaign but this championship whether we agree with it or not is the biggest in the basketball calendar and playing in Cork at the Neptune stadium is special for all players,” said Mark Ingle.
When coach Ingle put his plans together for this campaign he knew his priority was to get a good American pairing and in Meredeith Burkhall and Ashley Russell he acquired a superb duo.
Sarah Woods is a class act and with Maeve Phelan and Rachael Huidjdens two experienced campaigners Brunell will have their hands full keeping a lid on their scoring threat.
“Everybody in Ireland is expecting us to win in a canter but for me I have always appreciated the spirit of Brunell and they are sure to test our credentials,” added Ingle.
There is sure to be a carnival atmosphere at the Blackpool venue for this game but for me on present form DCU Mercy will have too much class for Brunell.
Verdict: DCU Mercy.