Singleton's SuperValu Brunell 71
DCU Mercy 67
SINGLETON'S Supervalu Brunell had to call on all their defensive skills to defeat the reigning champions and unbeaten DCU Mercy in a thrilling Women’s Super League clash at the Parochial Hall on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
The Cork side looked dead and buried with six minutes remaining when they trailed 61-52 but coming down the stretch they showed incredible resolve on defence.
Many heroes for the winners but the performance of Edel Thornton was right from the top drawer as she brought her game to another level when defeat stared them in the face.
Another rookie in the shape of Kelly Sexton contributed with a 14 point tally that included four clutch three pointers.
After the game the Brunell coach Timmy O’Halloran looked a relieved man.
“The good thing about winning these games is that it teaches the players the art of battling under pressure but I honestly feel we haven’t reached our peak yet despite our reasonable start to the season,” said O’Halloran.
The tempo of the game was frantic from tip off but Brunell’s defence let them down at times particularly in the manner they guarded the DCU American Bailey Greenberg.
Despite Katie Walsh and Simone O’Shea nailing early three pointers sloppy defence cost them big time.
The Brunell American Shannon Ryan wasn’t working hard enough on the boards and in defence with fellow professional Kwanza Murray struggling to find her shooting range.
DCU Mercy led 21-18 and out of that tally the visitors American Greenberg had amassed 14 points.
On the restart the Brunell defence improved as they held their opponents to a mere 10 points.
The introduction of Kelly Sexton in this period saw her drain a three pointer on her first shot and with Thornton leading her team they deservedly went in at the break commanding a 10 point lead 41-31.
When the Brunell coaching staff look back on the third quarter they will wonder what was exactly the plan they had put in place as their team looked totally disorganized at both ends of the court.
In truth DCU blew them apart as Brunell were outscored 22-7 and entering the crucial final quarter the visitors deservedly led 53-48.
In the opening exchanges of the fourth quarter DCU increased the intensity and increased their lead to nine points in the 34th minute.
When Brunell needed inspiration Thornton led by example as her teammates found another gear in defence that totally knocked DCU out of their stride.
Sexton shot two monstrous three pointers as Brunell managed to carve out a famous victory against the odds.
Offence win games but defence win championships will be the lesson taken out of this great win for the ‘Nellies’.
Scorers for Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell: K Murray 18, E Thornton 15, K Sexton 14.
DCU Mercy: B Greenberg 25, H Thornton 16, A Mayze 13.
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell: M Finnegan, S Ryan, L Homan, A Braham, K Sexton, E Thornton, S O’Shea, A Macheta, K Murray, K Walsh, L Crean-Hickey, S O’Reilly.
DCU Mercy: M Connolly, N Clancy, C Mulligan, R Huijsdens, M Phelan, A Mayze, E Carroll, M O Seaghdha, H Thornton, A Donohue, R Brennan, B Greenberg.
Referees: Peter James Coughlan, Maurice Thornhill (Cork).
It proved a disappointing weekend for the championship favourites The Address UCC Glanmire when they went down away to Liffey Celtics 77-74.
Glanmire have sorely missed Irish Senior International Claire Melia and their season hangs by a thread as they go into Saturday’s Cup game against Killester in Dublin.
Fr Mathew’s put in a huge effort but fell short against Killester 99-93 as they still await their first win of the campaign.