Singleton's SuperValu Brunell 59
FOR Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell and their incredible loyal bunch of supporters the wait for the first senior trophy goes on.
Killester put paid to their hopes and dreams of a first senior success in Tallaght this afternoon blowing the Cork side away by 23 points in the Paudie O’Connor National Cup final.
Now they are zero from four in senior finals and can have no complaints.
Yesterday they were beaten by a better side, who had the game’s best player Christa Reed, but once again as like last year there are lessons there to be learnt.
Right now this team are not ready to win trophies. Quite simply, they do not have enough firepower and too much is expected from Treyanna Clay, who despite being a great player, cannot do it all herself.
They don’t score enough points when it matters in games, 14 in the first, 28 in the second, six in the third and 15 in the fourth is not the type of balanced and consistent scoring you need to win big games.
Yes, they missed the scoring threat of Katie Walsh, who missed the final with a hand injury, but her absence is not enough to say this is why they lost.
Eight years ago in their first year playing at SuperLeague level under coach Kieran O’Leary they lost the SuperLeague Shield Final to Ulster Rockets 77-81.
In 2015, again under coach Kieran O’Leary they should have beaten Glanmire in the SuperLeague final in Galway, but in the end Glanmire’s experience saw them home on a scoreline of 77-64.
Last year it was Liffey Celtics who broke their hearts and spirit.
This year it was Killester’s turn, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and with a little bit of tweaking and recruitment they can challenge for this title again next season.
Despite starting the game very well which saw them lead 7-2 after three minutes Brunell trailed Killester by 10 at the end of the first, 14-24 with Christa Reed on fire for the Dublin side with nine points.
Brunell were struggling to get their offence working. With Killester guarding Treyanna Clay very closely, and shutting her down for long periods, the other Brunell players were not able to pick up the scoring role between them.
Brunell started the second quarter on fire hitting seven unanswered points to cut the deficit to three points, 21-24.
Their intensity was greater and the injured Danielle O’Leary, who came on at the start of the second added that stability and knowhow they needed at that time.
Thankfully, unlike the first quarter they maintained the pace and their defensive effort and with Clay, McClure, Alex Macheta, Sinead O’Reilly and Greta Tamasanskaite all impressing in this period as they started to hit their shots and the Cork side lead by one at the break, 38 to 37.
Brunell reverted back to their old bad habits in the third quarter, taking poor shots, running into blind alleys and falling asleep on defence. With Reed continuing to score at will Brunell coach Tim O’Halloran was forced to call a time out with just over four minutes to play to re-organise his team who were now behind 42-51.
However, Killester continued to press home their advantage and the lead was soon 14 points, 44-58 and the Cork side were in real trouble.
They only managed to score six points in the quarter, scoring two from 16 attempts and at any level that is not good enough.
At this stage realistically it was game over. Brunell didn’t have the firepower to claw back that deficit.
To their credit they started the fourth well and two early threes from Tamasanskaite and Morrissey had the deficit down to nine, 54 to 63, but Killester soon recovered and killed Brunell’s momentum by hitting 10 points in a row including two massive three pointers.
They now led by 19, 54 to 73 and with over five minutes to play Brunell’s fire had been extinguished and the life went out of their players and the final as Killester strolled home to win in style.
So, the wait for a senior trophy goes on, but it is not far away.
They need to remember that this evening. They are close to being a top side, but they are not ready to win titles yet.