Cup joy for Glanmire after stunning comeback against rivals DCU Mercy

MVP Claire Melia and captain Aine McKenna delivered down the stretch in a 19-point turnaround
Cup joy for Glanmire after stunning comeback against rivals DCU Mercy

The Address UCC Glanmire's Claire Melia was the cup final MVP. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

The Address UCC Glanmire 72 DCU Mercy 65 

THE Address UCC Glanmire produced an awesome final quarter to overcome a spirited DCU Mercy in a thrilling Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup final at the National Basketball Arena.

This game had everything and when Glanmire trailed by 12 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter they looked in big trouble but a masterclass performance from Claire Melia helped them regain control coming down the stretch.

For coach Mark Scannell this was a day to remember for his club.

"We had to find a way to win and the girls done it in style but it was a very tough game as I knew it would be but I am thrilled for all concerned with this club.

“Claire Melia was outstanding but deep down we had a few heroes that stood up to be counted when DCU threatened to take the game from us.” 

The Address UCC Glanmire's Mark Scannell guided his side to another cup. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
The Address UCC Glanmire's Mark Scannell guided his side to another cup. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Aine McKenna showed calmness personified when nailing consecutive three-pointers in the opening two minutes. The Cork side were on fire as a Casey Grace jumper made 8-0 before Bailey Greenberg responded with a basket.

DCU Mercy were struggling in defence as players like Claire Melia were dominating the post and midway through the quarter, they trailed by 12 points. As the quarter matured DCU began finding their touch and with Greenberg in superb form they reduced the deficit to six points with a minute remaining.

Glanmire were making numerous substitutions but Amy Dooley showed two nice deft moves to the hoop that saw them command a 25-17 lead entering the second quarter.

A Nicole Clancy three and a Rachael Huijsdens basket brought the minimum between the teams in the 14th minute as Glanmire looked to have gone into meltdown.

Credit to DCU they played some wonderful basketball to get back in the game and Mark Scannell called a time out midway through the second quarter to get his team organised.

The Glanmire drought eventually finally ended with four minutes remaining to the interval when Carrie Shepherd banked a shot.

It was amazing how this game turned on its head with Glanmire having a nightmare in the offence court but with 2.07 remaining to the interval they still held a three-point lead.

The Dublin side led for the first with 28 seconds remaining and finished the half in style with a buzzer-beater lay-up from American Alarie Mayze that saw them go in at the break with a narrow cushion 34-31.

This was an incredible turnaround as Glanmire were outscored 17-6 but there were so many negatives in their game in this period they needed a huge third quarter to stop the rot and the DCU onslaught.

Hannah Thornton gave DCU the perfect start with a neat drive but Claire Melia responded with a similar basket.

To be fair both teams continued to go for the jugular but Glanmire were being murdered on their own boards as they continued to trail 47-39 with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

The Address UCC Glanmire's Aine McKenna with Maeve Phelan of DCU Mercy. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
The Address UCC Glanmire's Aine McKenna with Maeve Phelan of DCU Mercy. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

In this quarter Glanmire continued to lack ideas in the offence court as in seven minutes they only managed a paltry eight points.

It was also hard to believe how bad the Glanmire defence was and when Greenberg nailed an unchallenged three-pointer it ensured her side would command a 52-43 lead entering the crucial final quarter.

It got worse for Glanmire on the restart when Mayze shot a monstrous from beyond the arc; Greenberg followed up with a basket DCU had surged ahead by 12.

Glanmire did find a new lease of life in the 32nd minute when a Carrie Shepherd three dropped that was immediately followed by a Tiernery Pfirman jumper the lead was reduced to five points 68-53 with six minutes remaining.

In the closing minutes, the Cork side found their true form and when Melia found her magic the title was heading for Leeside after a truly wonderful spectacle of basketball.

Top scorers for The Address UCC Glanmire: C Melia 21, A McKenna 13, T Pfirman 13, C Shepherd 11.

DCU Mercy: B Greenberg 25, A Mayze 22, N Clancy 6.

GLANMIRE: A McKenna, C Grace, L Scannell, M Furlong, A Dooley, C Shepherd, A Murphy, E O’Shea, M Loughery, A Furlong, T Pfirman.

DCU: 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: D Caballe (Athlone), M McGettrick (Dublin), J Malysko (Dublin).

MVP: Claire Melia (The Address UCC Glanmire).

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