National Cup: Brunell take on favourties Glanmire in Cork basketball derby

The Address UCC Glanmire v Singleton's SuperValu Brunell at 6.15pm in Neptune Stadium.
National Cup: Brunell take on favourties Glanmire in Cork basketball derby

Edel Thornton, Brunell, passes from Holli Dunne and Megan Dunne, IT Carlow, at the Parochial Hall. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT’S the game all Cork basketball fans have waited for as the Neptune Stadium will tonight host the all-Cork Paudie O’Connor semi-final between The Address UCC Glanmire and Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell at 6.15pm.

For Glanmire coach Mark Scannell this game is all about getting the right result.

“Both clubs want to reach the final so I guess nothing will be spared from the teams when they step on court for this intriguing game,” said Scannell.

Glanmire ran out winners when these teams last clashed in the Super League but that will count for nothing in this game according to Scannell.

“Cup basketball can be strange as Brunell have toppled a few fancied teams at this stage over the years and I have told my players to be ready for battle or we could be in trouble,” added Scannell.

Claire Melia. Picture: Larry Cummins
Claire Melia. Picture: Larry Cummins

Many basketball pundits point to Glanmire as the deepest squad in the Women’s Super League but despite their quality they have lost two games in this campaign.

Granted, their original professionals Gigi Smith and Taylor Claggert have departed the scene but coach Scannell was quick to replace them with Carrie Shepherd and Jaylyn Duran.

Shepherd is a wholehearted player and can be deadly outside the arc when getting clear looks and no doubt Brunell will need to be aware of her shooting threat.

The jury is still out on Glanmire’s Jaylyn Duran, who has yet to show her coach or teammates the type of quality associated with this club. Duran will have every chance on the big stage to prove her critics wrong and Brunell would be foolish to underestimate her.

The one plus for Glanmire is the quality they possess among their Irish players and none more than their Irish internaional Claire Melia.

When the teams last met Melia proved the difference with a stunning 30 points and looked in a different class when the game was there to be won.

Melia can play inside without a problem and if things get problematic in that department she can step outside the arc and nail three-pointers for fun.

If Brunell are to win this game they will have to restrict Melia’s influence but that’s easier said than done as she is simply a terrific athlete.

The form this season of the Glanmire captain Aine McKenna has been inspirational and the experience of Casey Grace should play a big factor in this game.

Brunell are having a terrific season and although going into this game as underdogs they will feel they have every chance of making a mockery of that tag.

Having lost the last two cup finals coach Timmy O’Halloran will surely have his team ready for another titanic battle.

“These are games that players and coaches alike should relish to be involved in and although we are facing the top team in the country I have every belief we will test their credentials,” said O’Halloran.

To be fair, Brunell have performed well all season but they will no illusions that Glanmire have lots of weapons in their locker.

“Glanmire have some quality players but so have we and it will all be about who turns up on the night as there is lots at stake in this game outside of the bragging rights,” added O’Halloran.

 Tim O'Halloran, Head Coach, Singleton's SuperValu Brunell with the team. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Tim O'Halloran, Head Coach, Singleton's SuperValu Brunell with the team. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The one plus for Brunell this season has been the form of Edel Thornton who seems to put shape to the team on court. She is a battler as well as a baller and is sure to have her teammates prepared as they bid for a third consecutive final.

The ‘Nellies’ are led by Sinead O’Reilly who is a tough battler on the boards and her contribution will be crucial to their cause. American Kwanze Murray is capable of lighting up the Blackpool venue with her slick shooting and her professional partner Shannon Ryan is a powerhouse at the post.

Indeed Ryan is the one player capable of hurting Glanmire if she’s afforded the right supply of ball.

Simone O’Shea is another vital player for Brunell as he adds some mettle in defence and is not afraid to shoot when getting clear looks.

Tactically both coaches will have vital contributions to make as this is a game that could be won on the line. The one guarantee you get when these teams clash is passion and spirit and it will be mighty interesting how it pans out.

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