THE reaction and celebration of Danielle Murphy O’Riordan and her Fr Mathew’s teammates at the end of their semi-final win over Glanmire told its own story.
This was a game they were not expected to win, but thanks to the performance of Murphy O’Riordan and her team, they upset the odds and beat the cup favourites. Glanmire had come into the game in better form.
They were a settled side. Fr Mathew’s were in transition.
They had a new coach in Larry O’Reilly and he was just getting used to them, and they to his style of coaching. He was unsure about his new team, he didn’t know their capabilities, but he should not have worried.
On the night of the semi-final, they played superbly and looked a very well organised and drilled unit. Their pressing game certainly upset Glanmire and in the end, their fitness was a huge factor in the win.
Fr Mathew’s can now look forward to this weekend’s final where once again they will start as underdogs, with Killester favourites for the title.
What was most pleasing about the semi-final win for the 20-year-old point guard was the performance of the team under pressure in front of a huge crowd in the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.
Fr Mathew’s needed to play their best game of the season and they did, with Murphy O’Riordan one of the stars. Now the Douglas woman can look forward to her first national cup final in the National Basketball Arena.
“This is my first national cup final with my club and I can’t wait,” Murphy O’Riordan said. “It’s hard to believe that instead of supporting teams for the weekend that we will actually be on the court playing and it’s super exciting.
“Reaching the National Cup final means everything to everyone involved with the club. I’m so excited to play in the arena and I feel the team are more than ready and capable of giving a great performance.
“The club has come on leaps and bounds, especially with the opening of our new hall in the Tennis Village, and now to secure a cup victory, would be the icing on the cake.”
Looking back over their semi-final win, Danielle believes a strong defence was key in their victory and she hopes her side can carry that form into the cup final.
“Beating Glanmire saw all our hard work pay off but for me, it wasn’t beating Glanmire, but more so to do with our performance. We played tough defence which I believe is our main strength as a team.
“Being able to run out of our defence is also key and I think our press has been a highlight this year, it’s full of intensity.”
Staying calm, focused, and having as little unforced errors as possible, will be key for Fr Mathew’s if they are to secure the cup title against Killester.
“I expect it to be a very tough game full of intensity against Killester. They are a very strong side, however for us to secure the win against them I think we must be calm and have as little unforced errors as we can and keep the ball.
“Thinking smart will be key.”
Playing with the club for over a decade, Danielle knows the importance of good teammates and quality coaches, which she believes the team has an abundance of this season.
“I’ve been playing with most of the girls since U10s and we have grown up together. We really are a team, on and off the court.
“New recruits like Eimear O’Leary and Saibhdh Fitzgerald have made us much stronger as they both bring something we have lacked for years, height and strength.
“The team would not be where they are today if it wasn’t for the great coaches at the club.
“Larry O’Reilly, Ger Gibbons, and Declan Donnelly have been amazing this season.
“Declan is new to the squad this year as our strength and conditioning coach. He has done a great job in getting us all in top shape.
“Ger has coached us for a number of years now. He is a great guy to keep us motivated from the bench.
“Larry came on board in September and his understanding of basketball has really opened our eyes to how the game can be played. He added discipline and structure to our game and we really did need something new.
“He is a brilliant coach and we are delighted now to be in the national cup final for all the above mentioned who put so much time into our team.
“Let’s hope we can do our coaches, family, and club proud.”