Brunell U20s fail to fire in the second half of National Cup semi-final loss

Portlaoise Panthers took advantage to secure their berth in the decider in two weeks
Brunell U20s fail to fire in the second half of National Cup semi-final loss

Action from the Brunell U20s' loss to Portlaoise in the Parochial Hall.

Portlaoise Panthers 47 Singleton's SuperValu Brunell 39 

A BELOW-PAR second half cost Brunell big time as they went down to Portlaoise in the Women’s U20 National Cup semi-final at the Parochial Hall.

It was a disappointing result for Brunell but when you only register a paltry tally of eight points in two quarters of basketball defeat is inevitable.

It has been a disastrous weekend for Brunell with the poor showing of their Super League side in their semi-final and assistant coach Edel Thornton found it hard to explain the scoring drought.

“Not a time for criticising as the girls are very down despite playing solid defence it was baffling how many of our shots failed to drop,” said Thornton.

Coach Thornton believes her side were well up and prepared for the game but it just didn’t happen.

“I was confident going into the game that we would win if we played to our potential but today Portlaoise took advantage of our inability to put the ball in the basket and they didn’t break any records either with a 47-point tally.” 

Both sides looked tentative in the opening exchanges but a stunning Emily Peyton Blake three gave Brunell a 4-2 lead in the third minute.

Brunell were winning the battles in defence and when Lauryn Homan banked a shot in the fifth minute it gave her side a four-point lead before Portlaoise called a time-out.

The time out yielded a response from the Midlanders as they responded with three consecutive baskets.

In the offence court, Brunell were struggling as just like their senior counterparts they looked to be hoping for something to happen. Poor passing options was a major problem for the Cork side and it was no surprise they trailed 18-13 entering the second quarter.

A good run by Brunell that included a three-pointer from Mia Finnegan saw them lead by the minimum 21-20 in the 14th minute. Both teams went for the jugular but the Cork side finished better and consecutive Lauryn Homan baskets saw them lead 31-27 at the interval.

The standard of basketball in the third quarter was poor from both sides and Brunell had to wait until the fifth minute of the quarter before registering a basket courtesy of Kelly Sexton.

It was also evident that Brunell were setting no screens as some of their shot selections continued to be forced and with only two more points being registered it was no surprise they trailed 41-35.

Coming down the stretch Brunell continued to turn the ball over and struggled to get clear looks as they continued to force the issue in the offence court.

In the end, Brunell can have few excuses as sadly their young aspiring stars possibly got caught up on the occasion as Portlaoise Panthers just did enough in this low-key semi-final.

PANTHERS: S Dooley, J Burke, L Blaney, C Byrne, E McNulty, F Umeh, R O’Brien, J Burke, H Collins, R Byrne, E Byrne, G Wheeler, S Tuohy, S Fleming.

BRUNELL: K Sexton, N Bowdren, L McKenzie, I McSweeney, L Homan, L Crean-Hickey, A Cronin, E Peyton-Blake, M Finnegan, A Barrett, R Lynch, C Barrett, K Power.

Referees: J Lavin (Dublin), D Caballe (Athlone), M Thornhill (Cork).

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