A young Fr Mathew’s side found the National Basketball Arena a very unforgiving place on Saturday afternoon as a more experienced Killester side put them to the sword in the NICC ladies national cup final.
Despite losing by 17 points, Mathew’s were in this final at the half-time break. They trailed 22-31, but a third quarter collapse where they only scored three points as against Killester’s 13 ended this game as a serious contest.
With 10 minutes to play Killester led 25-44 and were out of sight and never troubled again in the final as the Mathew’s challenge died a slow and painful death in front of their fans.
Assistant coach Ger Gibbons, who has been involved with this group of girls for years, put the loss down to his team not been able to cope with the experience and physicality of Killester.
“Look, this was a bonus, we never expected to be here,” Ger Gibbons said.
“I am very proud of the girls. We are not having a great year in Cork, we have lost a few games, but this was a great experience for a young team.
“Most of the girls are under 20 and six of them stared with us at U10 level and making this final proves to the girls that if they put their mind to it, they can play at this level.” Fr Mathew’s trailed at the end of the first by two, 12-14 and were well in this final. Their zone defence, full court pressure and their fast break were all working well.
Playing at a very fast pace Mathew’s clever use of their substitutions (eight players played in the opening quarter) helped coach Larry O’Reilly’s team stay in the hunt with Eimear Twomey and Aoife Gibbons impressing early on.
Killester started the second quarter the better and the Cork side were forced into a timeout less than two minutes in as they trailed 14-22.
Mathew’s were authors of their own misfortunate. You couldn’t fault their effort, but turnovers, missed layups and shots were hurting them as Killester started to find their range and led nine at the half, 22-31.
Gibbons with seven led the Mathew’s scorers at the half.
One felt at this stage that if Mathew’s were going to make an impact in the second half they needed to start well, take better care of the ball and cut down on their poor shot selection.
They didn’t, and to be accurate, the standard of play in the third was very poor from both sides. With five to play Mathew’s had only added two points and Killester three from their half time tally.
Both teams were committing turnover after turnover, with Killester slightly less guilty than Mathew’s in this area.
With just over four to play and Mathew’s players looking down and out, coach Reilly called another timeout to try to fire up his young team, who at this stage were struggling with the occasion.
With just over two minutes to go in the third, Mathew’s had still only scored two points in the quarter while Killester had hit nine to lead 24-40 and take complete control of this NICC ladies final.
The Killester lead was 19 (25-44) entering the final quarter and despite the continued effort, desire and commitment from the Mathew’s players in the final quarter, it was not their day.
A Gibbons 11, S Fitzgerald 7, E Twomey and S O’Mahony 5.
K McDaid 18, L Devitt 13, C White 11.
K Murphy, A Leahy, S O’Mahony, S Livesey, A Gibbons, E Twomey, C Sreenan, H Lynch, C Kiely, B Courtney, D Murphy O’Riordan, J O’Regan, S Fitzgerald.
L Devitt, A Connolly, H Feerick, C Fenton, A Cleary, E Kenny, C White, K McDaid, S Kennedy, M Long, C Curran, M Creane.
J Malysko, E O’Neill.