CUP finalists Singleton SuperValu Brunell also played out a thriller in the Parochial Hall on Sunday afternoon, coming back from as many as 14 down to see off the challenge of DCU Mercy, 64-59.
Sarah Woods (20 points) was the big threat for the visitors early on, catching Brunell out on the fast-break with her desire to get ahead of the ball. However, despite Mercy’s dominance early on, Brunell did well to hang in there and limit the half-time margin to trail by 30-38.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Brunell had closed the gap to just three points, taking the lead for the first time in the contest on a Linda Rubene shot from the corner with seven minutes to go. Danielle O’Leary was immense from behind the arc down the stretch, but having gone up three it took a huge steal from Maddie Ganser in the dying seconds to seal the win for Tim O’Halloran’s side.
“It was another good win for us, we’re on a bit of a run at the moment,” said the Brunell coach after the win. “It’s always good to get a win going into a Cup game. Now we can put the league aside and hopefully create a bit of history.”
In a game of fine margins, Fr Mathews edged out the Cork derby 82-74, seeing off a quality Ambassador UCC Glanmire outfit on home turf.
Glanmire came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, making seemingly every shot they took to lead 20-24 after the first. Annaliese Murphy (20) was particularly dangerous from deep, causing the Mathews defence problems from the off. Chantell Alford and Shannon Brady carried the load for the home side early on, and an Anna Lynch buzzer-beater saw Mathews go into half-time down 42-43.
The fast-paced action ensued in the second half, Grainne Dwyer (20) finding her form after a sub-standard first half of play.
With the game tied at 65 points apiece going into the fourth, it was the defence of the home side that ultimately won them the game, limiting a hot-handed Glanmire side to nine points, running away comfortable victors in the end.
“We had to dig out the win in the end,” coach James Fleming said after the win. “We knew this was always going to be a battle, so we look forward to two weeks off now and go again after the break.”
UCC Demons came home with a huge victory in the Men’s Super League, winning 70-75 against Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in the Kingdom on Saturday night. Warriors pride themselves on the atmosphere created in the Tralee Sports Complex, but Colin O’Reilly’s side weathered the storm to grind out an unexpected victory on the road.
It was certainly a team effort from the Cork side, Girts Lazdans finishing top scorer with 16 points while three other players for Demons finished in double figures. Keith Jumper put on a show for the home crowd, finishing with 22 points including a breakaway dunk that threatened to rip the ring from the backboard such was the ferocity of his effort.
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig were on the wrong side of an upset for the second time this month, falling to EJ Sligo All Stars 80-74 on the road.
Having won their first sixteen games of the season Ballincollig have now lost two on the spin, the cross-conference games proving a challenge for Kieran O’Sullivan’s charges. Andre Nation’s impact was limited, though he still had 28 points, as it was against KUBS earlier in January, giving Sligo a chance to shake things up at the top of the table.
Ballincollig face Bad Bobs Tolka Rovers in the Presidents National Cup Final next week, and Tolka will certainly be paying close attention to what it took to slow down the defending champions as they look to make it three losses in a month for the Cork outfit.
C and S Neptune fell to DCU Saints at home in the Men’s Super League, Michael Bonaparte (32 points) leading the way in a 83-100 victory against his former club. Neptune were missing Cian Heaphy due to a back injury, but Paul Kelleher couldn’t have been pleased with the performance from his troops on the back of a huge derby win over UCC Demons earlier in the month.
Fr Mathews’ poor run in the Men’s Division One continued meanwhile, as they fell to Dublin Lions 81-49. Darko Bucan carried the load for the visitors with 14 but Garrett Collins (22 points) set the tone early for Lions, making it an easy victory in the end for the side from the capital.