Ambassador UCC Glanmire 101 Liffey Celtics 84
AMBASSADOR UCC Glanmire produced their best performance of the season to eliminate champions Liffey Celtics in a highly entertaining Hula Hoops Women’s National Cup clash at the Mardyke Arena on Saturday.
What a difference a week makes as Glanmire, fresh from losing a derby league game to Fr Mathews, looked a completely different side with all their key players stepping up to the plate.
The mood in the camp was naturally one of elation as coach Mark Scannell praised his troops.
“The girls took a lot of stick after losing to Fr Mathews, but I think they showed today they were up for the challenge and to put 101 points on the champions is a fair achievement,” said Mark Scannell.
The opening exchanges were sloppy with the shooting and passing options well below the standard required at this level although following a Shrita Parker basket the home side commanded a 6-4 lead in the third minute.
The Kildare side began finding their range and, with Ailbhe O’Connor shooting consecutive baskets, they edged into a three-point lead.
Casey Grace levelled proceedings with a stunning three-pointer as the closing exchanges were played at a fast and furious pace.
The Glanmire American, Tatum Neubert, who has had a poor start to the season, finished with two free throws, but Celtics were penalised with 1.2 seconds remaining that saw coach Scannell call a time out.
On the inbound pass, it fell to Louise Scannell who nailed a monstrous buzzer-beater three-pointer that gave them a 26-21 lead.
Scannell continued with her outstanding shooting display on the restart as the home side increased their lead to eight points in the 13th minute.
Celtics were now on the back foot and when Scannell went coast to coast, they increased their lead to 13 points.
Glanmire continued to play high-tempo basketball as their lead increased to 17 points with two minutes remaining to the interval.
Careless play in the closing exchanges and a last-gasp Niamh Masterson three-pointer reduced the deficit to 54-42 at the interval.
On the restart, the teams exchanged baskets but, on each occasion that Glanmire threatened to take control, Celtics responded with key baskets and entering the final quarter Glanmire still commanded a 12-point lead.
In the closing quarter, the champions kept within striking range, despite trailing by 13 points entering the closing five minutes.
In the end, the key to Glanmire’s win was their overall team performance that was a treat to watch from start to finish.
Scorers for Ambassador UCC Glanmire: S Parker 22, T Neubert 21, C Grace 19.
Liffey Celtics: K Smith 30, Ailbhe O’Connor 17, Áine O’Connor 12.
Referees: J Malypso (Portlaoise), Ger Daly (Cork).