THE first Women’s Super League derby game in Cork this season will tip-off on Friday night at the Mardyke Arena (7.30pm) when Ambassador UCC Glanmire host local rivals Fr Mathew’s.
The majority of Fr Mathew’s squad are former Glanmire players and when these sides clash there is a special bite to the game.
Last season when Mathew’s played at this venue they were demolished by a rampant Glanmire side and coach Mark Scannell will be hoping for more of the same in tonight’s clash.
Both sides have lost a game each in this campaign and that makes this clash that bit more important according to Scannell.
“We were defeated at Maree who are a decent side but I don’t look at this game as getting one over one our rivals as to me it’s all about getting a result at this stage of the season,” said Scannell.
For a decade Glanmire were the dominant side in Irish basketball but times have changed for the Leesiders as Scannell reflected on the recent drought.
“We had some wonderful years with magnificent teams but life goes on and that’s the beauty of sport so the biggest challenge for me right now is getting my young players up to speed to compete at the top flight of Irish basketball,” he said.
This season Scannell recruited Americans Shirita Parker and Tatum Neubert and although still to reach the heights required at this level they will no doubt improve.
“In the case of Parker she showed decent form when chipping in with 26 points in Glanmire’s win over IT Carlow but Nuebert will need to find her scoring form particularly in a game of this magnitude.
Fr Mathew’s lost at WIT Wildcats and reports from last week’s win over IT Carlow suggested their averages in the offence court were poor.
Granted, their most influential player Grainne Dwyer missed that game but head coach James Fleming believes his side are going in the right direction. Looking ahead to tonight’s game Fleming knows his side will have to have to be at their very best.
“My team will have to remember how fired up Glanmire were last season at this venue when they blew us out in the second half,” said Fleming.
Grainne Dwyer will return for this game against her former club and Amy Murphy maybe called into the starting five following her terrific display of shooting last weekend.
Simone O’Shea who also played with Glanmire at underage level is a player that could be called into tightening up Mathew’s defence.
Glanmire have experienced players like Aine McKenna, Casey Grace, Marie Breen and Miriam Loughrey and this could be the key for them if they are to win this intriguing game.
Not for the fainthearted but for me Glanmire’s desire on their home court may sway it in their direction.
Verdict: Ambassador UCC Glanmire.