Cork basketball: Brunell are back on top in the Women's Super League

Tim O'Halloran's side did enough to defeat Liffey Celtics in the Parochial Hall
Cork basketball: Brunell are back on top in the Women's Super League

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Kwanza Murray shoots against Liffey Celtics in the Women's Superleague at the Parochial Hall. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell 76 Liffey Celtics 67 

SINGLETON'S SuperValu Brunell returned to the summit of the Women’s Super League following a hard earned win over Liffey Celtics at the Parochial Hall.

In a game that ebbed and flowed the sides were level going into the final quarter but Brunell outscored their opponents 21-12 in this crucial period that secured them maximum points.

If Brunell could play rigid defence over four quarters they match the majority of sides in this league and coach Timmy O’Halloran was pleased with the result.

“I don’t want to sound cocky but we can play so much better and yes the win was crucial but we have a few aspects of our game that need tweaking and hopefully we will get those addressed sooner than later,” said O’Halloran.

Edel Thornton showed great awareness with an interception in the opening Liffey possession to score an unchallenged lay-up.

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Edel Thornton racing past Liffey Celtics' Sorcha Tiernan in the Women's Superleague at the Parochial Hall. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Edel Thornton racing past Liffey Celtics' Sorcha Tiernan in the Women's Superleague at the Parochial Hall. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The game was being played at a ferocious pace and Brunell were certainly tuned-in in defence. Thornton was running the show at both ends of the court and it was no surprise the home team led 12-6 midway through the quarter.

Simone O’Shea was another Brunell player to excel in this period holding Sorcha Tiernan scoreless as the Kildare side were intent on shooting outside the arc.

In the closing minutes, Shannon Ryan banked a shot and Brunell led 18-15 at the end of this period.

Ryan nailed a couple of free throws but Brunell’s intensity in defence had dropped that allowed Kate O’Flaherty to drain consecutive three-pointers on the baseline.

As the quarter matured the Brunell scoring dried up and with their defence almost non-existent outside of the arc they allowed the visitors edge ahead following a superb Ciara Bracken three.

As the minutes ticked down Brunell got sluggish at both ends of the floor and Liffey Celtics were given acres of room to expose careless defending as they deservedly went in at the break commanding a 35-32 lead.

On the resumption, Simone O’Shea shot consecutive long-range three-pointers but suddenly Brunell showed the bad side of their defence and allowed Liffey Celtics score unchallenged baskets outside the arc.

Indeed with a minute remaining the home side trailed by six points but they rallied and a steal at the death from the outstanding Thornton tied the game at 53 points each.

Coming down the stretch Katie Walsh found her shooting range for the home side and with their defence improving big time they tore their Kildare opponents to shreds.

To be fair the Brunell American pairing of Kwanze Murray and Shannon Ryan are as good as any in the league and they came good when their team needed baskets at a crucial stage in this period.

The Brunell fans were happy at the final buzzer as this is the best season they have had in the Super League for many years.

Top scorer for Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell: K Murray 19, E Thornton 17, S Ryan 14.

Liffey Celtics: C Bracken 16, K O’Flaherty 15, A O’Connor 10, S Tiernan 10.

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.

LIFFEY: K O’Flaherty, C Bracken, K Rochford, E Scully, A Dillard, N O’Leary, K Mealey, A Jackson, S Tiernan, M Howe, A O’Connor, Aine O’Connor, E O’Dwyer.

Referees: M Thornhill (Cork), L Aherne (Limerick).

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