Fr Mathew’s 55 Meteors 45
WHAT Emma Gallagher started, Niamh Dwyer finished as Fr Mathew’s created history at the National Basketball Arena yesterday when they captured their first senior women’s title beating Meteors in the senior women’s National Cup final.
For three quarters of this final Mathew’s struggled. They constantly took bad shooting options and were turning the ball over far too much but when their need was greatest and when they needed someone to keep them in touch with Meteors who several times in the final looked like running away with it, up stepped Emma Gallagher who was sensational.
While her teammates huffed and puffed, she was the only Mathew’s player to play well all game. She hit four huge threes when they were looking down and out, and her performance allowed star player Niamh Dwyer finally find her form and range in the final quarter to help Mathew’s win in front of a very large Cork following.
Despite a very slow start and a very poor shooting performance for the opening nine minutes of the game (6/19), Mathew’s finished the quarter on a high, hitting eight points in the final minute thanks to threes from Emma Gallagher and Olivia Dupuy and a basket from Hollie Herlihy to lead 14-13 heading into the second.
Meteors started the second quarter like Mathew’s ended the first, hitting eight points in over a minute to lead 21-14 before a second Gallagher three of the final stopped their run.
When she hit her third next time down the court to cut the lead to one (21-20) Meteors were forced to call a timeout.
That helped recover their composure, but at the half Mathew’s were still hanging on to their coat tails as they trailed by one (26-25) and in fact they could have and should been ahead as their American Ashley Cunningham missed two lay-ups in the closing seconds.
Mathew’s, and their star player Niamh Dwyer endured a third quarter from hell. Dwyer still couldn’t buy a basket and Mathew’s only added four points until the final few seconds of the third when suddenly Dwyer found her range, hitting five quick-fire points to leave them four behind (38-34) heading into the final quarter.
Mathew’s were quickly down eight in the fourth before their best player on the day Emma Gallagher hit another five points to cut the lead to three and take her personal total to 14.
Meteors called a timeout to regroup, but it was Mathew’s who benefitted from the minute rest.
They came out re-energised and from here to the finish the Cork side were the better team with Dwyer and Cunningham finally finding their true form to seal a famous win for the southside club by 10 points to set off scenes of wild celebration.
Scorers for Fr Mathew’s: E Gallagher 15, N Dwyer 15, H Herlihy 9.
Meteors: S Brady 15, K O’Flaherty 13, E Mairtin 12.
FR MATHEW'S: H Herlihy, A Fitzgerald, N Dwyer, A O’Regan, R Furlong, E Gallagher, O Dupuy, K Cahalane, R Finn, A Lynch, S Large, L Nolan, A Fitzgerald, A Cunningham.
METEORS: K O’Flaherty, O Reid, E Mairtin, M Rule, K Meany, S Fogarty, S Doyle, C Mairtin, S Brady, F Meany, J Kirwan, C Flaherty, E Browne.
Referees: M Nazimek, M Landos, N Callaghan.