Ambassador UCC Glanmire 77 Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell 66
GLANMIRE remain on track to complete their fifth consecutive Women’s National Cup championship following a hard-earned win over fellow Cork side Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell at the Mardyke Arena on Saturday.
The occasion was special with a capacity attendance at this wonderful venue as the spectators were treated to a battle from start to finish.
When Brunell look back on this game they will surely ask themselves how they failed to manage to stay the distance against their Cork rivals.
In truth, some of Brunell’s players were out on their feet in the first half as Glanmire eventually wore them down coming down the stretch. This was the third season that Glanmire have eliminated Brunell at this stage of the competition but they can have few excuses as their rivals are on a different planet in the condition stakes.
For Brunell to go to the next level they must assemble a squad that is prepared to train three times a week and, in their spare, time go to the gym. Basketball at this level is no longer a sport that you can play from October to March and then forget about it until the restart.
The opening quarter was interesting in the match-up stakes as both sides traded baskets, but when Glanmire’s new American signing, Ashley Prim, nailed a three-pointer in the fifth minute, it gave Glanmire a 9-8 lead.
Brunell coach Francis O’Sullivan wouldn’t have known what line-up he was facing in terms of Glanmire’s American at the moment. Currently, Glanmire have three Americans as Katy Keating now comes under that category and on this occasion Adily Martucci wasn’t on the scoresheet due to an illness in the week leading up to this game.
Credit to Brunell’s Amy Waters who battled like a trojan on the boards in this period and a Breana Bey basket and bonus saw them reduce the deficit to the minimum 19-18 entering the second quarter.
It was obvious that Glanmire coach Mark Scannell was intent on using his bench on a frequent basis, but the Brunell chief didn’t have the same luxury, as his side lack depth.
The one plus about Brunell this season is the quality of their Americans, Bey and Maddie Ganser. Bey finished with a game-high of 20 points and Ganser chipped in with 18, but what was costly was that their Irish players struggled to put up double digits.
Referees are taking centre stage this season for all the wrong reasons and although having no bearing on the result, the standard not alone in this game, but in many at the weekend was not at the required level.
In the closing minutes, Brunell looked in control when commanding a seven-point lead, but they dropped their intensity and a late three-pointer from Keating reduced the deficit to 41-37 at the interval.
It was evident that Glanmire were intent on increasing the intensity for the second half as their defence looked a lot more rigid. As the quarter matured, the champions got better with Grainne Dwyer battling at both ends of the court as if her life depended on winning.
Dwyer is a born winner and showed incredible guts and leadership when her team needed the required inspiration.
Bey continued to keep Brunell within striking distance, but the athletic Claire Rockall finished the quarter with a deft move to the hoop that edged her team into a 56-49 lead entering the final period.
That’s as good as it got for Brunell as they were basically taken to the cleaners coming down the stretch.
Try as they, did Brunell basically hadn’t the energy to break down Glanmire’s defence as their players on court were shattered and fatigued.
Prim showed her class with consecutive three-pointers that increased Glanmire’s lead to 12 points with two minutes remaining.
In the end, the class of Glanmire was good enough as they can now set their sights on winning their fifth consecutive title on January 28.
Who would bet against them?
Top scorers for Glanmire: Grainne Dwyer 19, Ashley Prim 18, Claire Rockall 16.
Brunell: Breana Bey 20, Madelyn Ganser 18, Amy Waters 9
GLANMIRE: A McKenna, A Prim, C Grace, C Rockall, G Dwyer, L Scannell, H McCarthy, M Byrne, A Murphy, A Martucci, K Keating, A Braham.
BRUNELL: R Lyall, L Falvey, A Moynihan, A Waters, D O’Leary, K Diggin, A Dineen, S O’Shea, A Macheta, M Ganser, A Murphy, B Bey.
Referees: Richard Dunne (Dublin), Stephen Brierley (Dublin), Conor Vandendries (Dublin).