Fr Mathew’s 77 Maree 82
MAREE had to withstand a terrific Fr Mathew’s comeback before securing maximum points in the Women’s Super League clash at Fr Mathew’s Arena on Saturday.
The Galway-based side looked comfortable for long periods but almost cracked under serious Mathew’s pressure coming down the stretch much to the relief of coach Joe Shields.
“We played some nice basketball for three-quarters of the game but in the final period we struggled big time to knock down a shot and credit to Mathew’s they simply kept plugging away but luckily one or two shots did eventually drop,” said Joe Shields.
When you are playing in the top flight for the first time there is bound to be some pressure but credit to coach Shields they have assembled a competitive side with only one American.
“We have only one American but look the reality is that we have some good Irish players and having two Americans demands a budget we cannot afford and we certainly will look back on this season with plenty of pride,” added Shields.
In the opening quarter, both sides shot the ball extremely well but Maree looked impressive and following a Carol McCarthy three-pointer in the fifth minute they raced into a 13-7 lead.
In the closing minute Mathew’s Chantelle Alford nailed a shot outside the arc to edge the home side ahead but credit to Maree they showed true grit to score seven unanswered points to lead 20-17 entering the second quarter.
Refereeing at any level of sport can be difficult but the two officials in this game clearly lacked experience. They made some dubious calls on both sides and surely for a game of this importance we can expect more.
On the restart, a Ciara McCarthy three tied the game but once again Maree responded with three unanswered baskets.
On each occasion in this period that Maree threatened to take control Mathew’s executed key baskets but the energetic Claire Rockall showed a lovely touch with a deft move to the hoop that surged her team into a nine-point interval lead.
Dayna Finn gave Maree the perfect start but Simone O’Shea replied with a three-pointer for Mathew’s.
Suddenly Maree looked to have taken full control with consecutive Rockall baskets and one from Cathy McClendon increased their lead by 14 points but once again Mathew’s rallied and entering the final quarter the deficit was reduced to nine points.
Coming down the stretch Mathew’s played some solid basketball and levelled the game with two minutes remaining.
The decision to keep Shannon Brady sitting down until reintroducing her with a minute remaining came back to haunt the home side as Maree finished in style to grind out a hard fought five-point win.
Scorers for Fr Mathew’s: G Dwyer 20, C Alford 16, S Brady 11, C McCarthy 11.
Maree: C Rockall 18, C McClendon 16, C McCarthy 14.
Fr MATHEW'S: S O’Shea, A Murphy, E O’Raw, A O’Regan, G Dwyer, C Alford, M McCarthy, A Corkery, A Lynch, S Brady, E Twomey.
MAREE: C McCarthy, A Blaney, H Finn, C Rockall, A McDonagh, M Fahy, L Walsh, K McCleane, E Kennedy, A McCleane, C McLendon, N Egan, M Byrne, F Scally, C McGrail.
Referees: Jason Barry (Limerick), Emer O’Neill (Killarney).