SINGLETON’S SuperValu Brunell stand just 40 minutes away from appearing in their first senior National Cup final.
Cork rivals Fr Mathew’s stand in their way tonight in the Neptune Stadium at 8.30pm when both sides meet in their first senior semi-final.
It will be a huge victory for either side, with Brunell set to start the game as slight favourites, based on their experience and years playing at this level.
While it is Fr Mathew’s first year in the senior grade they are no strangers to cup success. Last year they won the Division 1 Cup and have Grainne Dwyer in their team this year. Dwyer’s ability and desire to win, alongside her sister Niamh, will make it a much tougher task for the Parochial Hall-based side.
Having already lost narrowly to them in the SuperLeague this season, Brunell star Amy Waters is under no illusion of how difficult a task this is going to be.
“We played Fr Mathew’s in the league earlier in the year and we were fairly even as we lost by one, so I have no doubt it will be a very tough but close game,” said Waters.
“We are confident and are definitely capable of getting to the final of the cup. We know Mathew’s are not going to be easy to beat but hopefully we will be well prepared.
“We are due a win, we train so hard and we have all stuck with it for so many years. We hope this year we’ve gained experience to get us the win.
“Although our earlier meeting with them was a close one in which we lost, the league and cup are completely different and anything can happen in a cup game. It all depends who wants it more on the day.
“We know that Fr Mathew’s are a well-drilled team, and although this is their first year in the Super League, they have plenty of experienced players with their new additions.”
One of those additions is Grainne O’Dwyer who has made a massive impact to the southside club.
And although Waters knows Grainne will be one to watch, she believes if her side concentrates on their own game, then she is confident that they can make it to their first senior cup final.
“The Dwyers (Grainne and Niamh) are never easy to play against, but we will have to stick to our normal game at the end of the day it is five against five we will all have our jobs.
“As well as the Dwyers we also have Chantelle and Shannon Brady to contend with. We know Chantelle has been playing in Ireland a while, she is a great shooter — someone you cannot leave open on three-point line. Shannon is also a big strong player and will not be easy to keep off the boards — a really good inside player.
“There is no doubt that the Dwyers have had won plenty of senior cups and I think the experience of them will help their team a lot, however this is our third semi-final in a row with more or less the same team, and although we are still very young, hopefully, we have learnt from our losses in the past and this will help us beat Fr Mathew’s.”
Playing in Neptune in front of what is expected to be a full house, Waters stresses the importance of such support, especially in a local derby.
“Usually a local derby brings a full house, which adds to excitement and nerves of the game. Brunell always have a great following and our U18s are also in the semis as well and we always get great support from our club. We are having a good year and improving with every game.
“Everybody has stepped up this year and our younger players coming up have improved. We have had the addition of a new victory scholar and our victory scholar from last year is also with us.
“Linda Ruben is from Latvia and has been playing well. She is tall, can shoot, also play inside and fits in really well with the team.
“Madrid Ganser our victory scholar from last year is a post player, strong, brings great intensity, never gives up, encouraging, gets on very well with the team on and off the court.
“Tricia Byrne is another victory scholar, who is our point guard. She is very quick, a good shooter, very encouraging, brings speed and intensity to the court, she is a great teammate and they will all be important players for us this weekend.
“As a team, I think everyone is playing well. It’s not so much individual performances when we win it’s our team effort everyone contributes when we play well.
“Timmy and Mark have brought new training sessions with new drills, high intensity and we all get after one another to improve one another and fight for our spots. The lads have us well drilled and they will have us well prepared for the semi-final.
“Personally, my own performance has been OK. At the start of the season, it was more getting to know our professionals but I think as we gel together more my own performance is improving and I hope this will continue at the weekend.
“We would like to reach this final for our sponsor Singleton’s SuperValu who have been very good to Brunell for the past couple of years. I’m very excited and cannot wait to step on the court.”