Ambassador UCC Glanmire coach Mark Scannell is urging his players to stay focused on the job in hand as they get ready for tomorrow’s Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup semi- final at the Neptune Stadium.
The Cork side will go into this game as hot favourites but Scannell is always wary at this stage of the championship.
“The bottom line is that people will think all we have to do is turn up and that will be good enough to make it to the final but Killester will have other ideas and we will have to be at our sharpest,” said Mark Scannell.
Glanmire have already defeated Killester comfortably in a league game this season but that according to Scannell that counts for nothing.
“I know people might be sick of my opinion about cup basketball but I will repeat myself again in saying this game is about 40 minutes of basketball for a place on the biggest stage of all and that’s every players dream at this level,” added Scannell.
It has been a decent season to date for Glanmire as for a club who were decimated with the loss of key players they have managed to regroup and are a very attractive side to watch.
The signing of Shrita Parker has certainly lifted the spirit of the Glanmire faithful as her movement and assist play on court has certainly enthralled basketball fans up and down this country.
Parker went back to the States for the Christmas break and hopefully will have recharged her batteries for this crucial game.
The talent of Parker hasn’t gone unnoticed as she has come in for special treatment in her last few games and knowing how to handle it could be crucial to how Glanmire will contest the remainder of the season.
At times referees need to protect players like Parker but luckily her coach is very experienced in handling difficult situations for his team.
The good news for Glanmire is their second American Tatum Neubert has made incredible strides since her arrival back in September.
Under the shrewd coaching of Scannell and his assistant Ronan O’Sullivan they have put serious work in with their professional on the training court and the results are clear to see.
Neubert is a slick shooter and works hard at the post and will have a major role to play for her side to see off their Dublin opponents.
Luckily Glanmire have an excellent captain in Aine McKenna who has been scoring well in this campaign and is a player who consistently leaves it all on court for her side.
Casey Grace could be the key player for Glanmire in this semi- final but she will need to be on double digits in both scoring and rebounds.
Annaliese Murphy is a wonderful talent in the manner she defends and when her shot is in flow outside the arc she is capable of hurting teams.
Louise Scannell is a player that has struggled with injuries this season and if she could get back to shooting with precision coupled with playing some decent defence the young Glanmire ace has lots to offer.
Marie Breen has given many years of loyal service to the club and although struggling with a back problem in recent years her loyalty to the club should be commended.
When Amy Dooley joined Glanmire this season she was coming off playing restricted minutes with the Irish 20 Women’s side.
Credit to the player and her coach she is developing into a hard-working post player and will be an integral part of this Glanmire side for many years.
Killester shocked fellow Cork side Fr Mathew’s in the semi- final and will go into this game with nothing to lose according to coach Karl Kilbride.
“I think at the start of the season our defence let us down big time as we were scoring well but now we seem to have got a decent mixture to our game and hopefully we can pose Glanmire problems,” said Karl Kilbride.
The Dublin outfit also have a decent American pairing in Christa Reed and Adella Randle El and if Glanmire don’t play good defence they are capable of getting punished by this duo.
Another factor for Glanmire will be closing down the outside scoring threats of Killester as players like Mimi Clarke and Aisling McCann are decent shooters.
A game that is sure to attract a capacity attendance but for me Glanmire have the class to see off the Killester challenge.
Verdict: Ambassador UCC Glanmire.