Ambassador UCC Glanmire 69 Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell 49
AMBASSADOR UCC Glanmire beat Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell by 20 points in a disappointing Women’s Super League game at the Mardyke Arena.
Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell’s Irish international, Katie Walsh, picked up a serious finger injury with 1.11 remaining in the third quarter.
The game was stopped for 25 minutes, while the Glanmire assistant coach, Ronan O’Sullivan, and manager, Maebh Ní Chionnaith, attended to the stricken player.
A medical representative from the Mardyke Arena also helped the player, before she was removed to hospital by ambulance.
This injury comes as a huge blow, as Walsh was awesome in Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell’s semi-final win over DCU Mercy.
The sight of Walsh crying upset players from both sides and it was evident the spectators were also shocked. The Brunell player will now miss the cup final next Sunday, against Pyrobel Killester.
Brunell went into the game without victory scholar American, Ayrn McClure, who is recovering from a groin injury, and it certainly weakened them.
The opening exchanges saw Brunell expose some lethargic Glanmire shooting and passing.
Brunell were clinical in exposing Glanmire, with the energetic Laura Morrissey draining a three-pointer midway through the quarter.
Gradually, Glanmire responded to the wake-up call and with captain, Aine McKenna, showing nice touches at the point, they finished in style, with a Shrita Parker basket and bonus that gave them a 18-17 lead.
On the restart, Morrissey showed her eye again, as she drained a long-range three-pointer, much to the delight of the Brunell fans.
The Glanmire coach, Mark Scannell, will surely be worried that his team took five minutes to score in this period.
A negative for Brunell was the ejection of their Lithuanian shooting star, Greta Tamasanskaite. No excuses for the Brunell professional, as she picked up a technical foul in the first quarter, following a verbal spat with one of the match referees.
The second unsportsmanlike foul was ridiculous: she caught an opposing player who was attempting to go past her and the referee had no other option but to punish the offence.
Tamasanskaite is possibly the best shooter in the league and now that Walsh will miss the final, she will be required to have a season best in the decider. Glanmire were now in the ascendancy and with Brunell only amassing nine points in this period, Glanmire had a 37-26 lead at the break.
Annaliese Murphy, who has been struggling in recent weeks with her shooting, produced a three-pointer on the restart and with McKenna continuing to drive her team forward, the result of this game was never in question for the home side.
Then came the Walsh injury and, suddenly, no-one in the arena was thinking about the result, as players and officials from both sides were upset.
Brunell did request that the game be abandoned, offering to give the points to Glanmire, but they were advised by Basketball Ireland that it had to be completed.
Entering the fourth quarter, both sides used various rotations, as the zest had gone from the game.
The Brunell coach, Tim O’Halloran, now has a serious headache going into the cup final, with captain, Danielle O’Leary, already sidelined.
On the positive side, McClure will return, but they will certainly need fringe players to step up to the plate.
Glanmire will be pleased they brushed the cobwebs off in their bid to consolidate second place in the table.
Coming down the stretch, it was a case of counting down the minutes, but a young player’s dream of playing in a cup final was shattered and we wish her well in her recovery.
Top scorers for Ambassador UCC Glanmire: A McKenna 15, T Neubert 15, S Parker 15.
Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell: L Morrissey 13, T Clay 12, A Braham 6, K Walsh 6.
Referees: P J Coughlan (Cork), E Cooke (Cork).