WOMEN'S basketball in this country has always been to the forefront of the sport but the contribution of two coaches in the shape of Mark Scannell and Mark Ingle has certainly been part of that progression.
On Sunday last they came up against one another in the Women’s Super League with Scannell’s The Address UCC Glanmire hosting DCU Mercy.
This was a proper game of basketball and although coach Scannell wasn’t best pleased in how his team defended, some of movement and shooting from both sides was a sight to behold.
When you look back over the last two decades both Glanmire and DCU Mercy have had their fair share of success and its very to clear to see why they have dominated Irish basketball.
As a scribe who has witnessed basketball for over 50 years the one positive that I witness when Glanmire and DCU Mercy teams are playing is they both have structures on court.
For the pessimists in the sport they may point to the fact that their clubs always attract quality players but on the other side of the coin the fact they want to play under these coaches emphasises their respect for both men.
Tina Turner’s song ‘Simply the Best’ probably sums up the Scannell and Ingle record in the sport with “Your simply the best better than all the rest.”
Despite being friends off court when it comes to battle that’s all set aside and Scannell was the winner of the latest encounter 80-77 that had the Mardyke Arena in rapture.
It was a day again when Claire Melia proved why she is the best player in this country bar none with a 33 points contribution.
The one worry for coach Scannell is that his second American Gigi Smith is not firing on all cylinders and she needs to improve big time going forward to help the Leesiders.
The Singleton's SuperValu Brunell coach Timmy O’Halloran will have no worries in that department as his American pairing combined for a stunning 81 points between them as they demolished Killester in Dublin 107 to 87.
Take a bow Kwanze Murray who contributed 49 points but to be fair her American teammate Shannon Ryan chipped in with 32.
Brunell were very unlucky to lose out to WIT Wildcats in a recent league game and all eyes now will be on their cup quarter next weekend against Trinity Meteors.
Fr Mathew’s travelled to play WIT Wildcats and although putting up a good battling display they went down 74-72.
It’s ironic that these teams will lock horns again on Saturday in the Women’s Paudie O’Connor National Cup quarter final.
Coach Niamh Dwyer will rue their third quarter collapse but if lessons are learned they have every chance of turning over the Wildcats.
The Irish Senior Men’s side hosted Austria at the National Basketball Arena and went down 97-70 despite putting in a serious first half shift.
Trailing 43-41 at interval Ireland fans sensed there was a big upset was on the cards but they were outscored 30-9 in the third quarter that ended any hopes of a win.
Captained by Kyle Hosford of UCC Demons he was joined by fellow Leesiders Adrian O’Sullivan of Tradehouse Central Ballincollig and Jordan Blount now strutting his skills in Iceland with AK Akureyri.
After defeating Cyprus in their opening game they now face a tough away trip in February to play Switzerland.