Cork basketball: Brunell have enough to beat Fr Mathew's again

Bragging rights to the hosts at the Parochial Hall, despite the absence of Kwanze Murray
Cork basketball: Brunell have enough to beat Fr Mathew's again

Team captain Sinead O'Reilly, Singleton's SuperValu Brunell, with possession. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell 72 Fr Mathew's 66 

THE bragging rights went to Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell as they overcame local rivals Fr Mathew's in the Women’s Super League at the Parochial Hall.

In a game that failed to ignite at any stage, Brunell always looked likely winners as Mathew's lacked the necessary bite. Indeed it was the fourth derby game Mathew's have lost this season as they also went down twice to The Address UCC Glanmire.

Plenty of heroes for the winners but Katie Walsh, Alex Macheta and Lauryn Homan excelled at different stages when their team needed inspiration. In the case of MVP Macheta, it was a good way to respond after spending many minutes on the bench in this campaign.

Another player that will be pleased is Katie Walsh (18) who had a season-best and Lauryn Homan who played solid defence when her team needed important stops.

Brunell went into the game minus American Kwanze Murray, who suffered an ankle injury at a midweek training session, and coach Timmy O’Halloran was naturally delighted with his team’s performance.

“We needed a big performance from our Irish players especially playing with only one American and I am pleased in the manner my entire squad performed from start to finish.” 

Edel Thornton went coast to coast in Brunell’s opening possession and Katie Walsh followed up with a stunning three-pointer that had the home fans in rapture.

Mathew's looked scrappy but they gradually got up and running with Aisling McCann nailing a three that helped level the game in the fifth minute 12-12.

As the quarter matured the play got scrappier as both teams shooting and passing options became frantic and with 2.24 remaining in this period the sides were tied at 12 points each.

The standard didn’t improve in the closing minutes but two Thornton free throws ensured Brunell led 19-17 going into the second quarter.

Almost two minutes into the second period and neither side had registered a basket before Mathew's coach Niamh Dwyer called a time out.

Fr Mathew's veteran Grainne Dwyer eventually ended the drought in the third minute and when McCann followed up with another basket the visitors raced into a four-point lead.

Some of the rotations that Brunell used in the early minutes of this quarter were strange with no threat from the outside in the offence court.

Both sides made basic mistakes before the break, as Brunell went in at the interval leading by the minimum, 38-37.

Trish Byrne hit a jumper on the restart to edge Mathew's ahead but the home side responded with consecutive baskets.

 Trish Byrne, Fr Mathew's, with possession as Simone O'Shea, Singleton's SuperValu Brunell, tracks the play. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Trish Byrne, Fr Mathew's, with possession as Simone O'Shea, Singleton's SuperValu Brunell, tracks the play. Picture: Larry Cummins.

A brace of free throws from Shannon Ryan in the 25th minute gave Brunell a two-point lead but at this stage, the scoring had become a rarity from both sides.

A nice jumper from Alex Macheta have Brunell a 52-46 lead with two minutes remaining as Mathews coach decided a time out was needed.

The introduction of Lauryn Homan added mettle to the Brunell defence and entering the final quarter they had an eight-point cushion following another Macheta basket.

It certainly was a great day for Macheta, who had her minutes restricted all season but when called upon in this game she certainly produced the goods.

Coming down the stretch and commanding a 58-50 lead Homan produced a crucial basket for the home side.

Thornton who battled from start to finish was out on her feet with fatigue and needed a rest but coach O’Halloran decided to stick with the tried and trusted.

Grainne Dwyer did battle to the wire but her team lacked the same determination but it was a three-point game 67-64 before Thornton responded with two free throws.

In the end, Brunell were deserving winners but for Mathew's they could now find themselves in a relegation battle if they don’t get their act together for the remaining games of the campaign.

 Grainne Dwyer, captain for Fr Mathew's, on the move. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Grainne Dwyer, captain for Fr Mathew's, on the move. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Top scorers for Brunell: S Ryan 22, K Walsh 18, E Thornton 11, A Macheta 10.

Fr Mathew's: G Dwyer 26, T Byrne 12, A McCann 9.

BRUNELL: M Finnegan, S Ryan, L Homan, A Braham, K Sexton, E Thornton, S O’Shea, A Macheta, K Walsh, L Crean-Hickey, S O’Reilly.

Fr MATHEW'S: A Corkery, T Byrne, A Fitzgerald, A Murphy, G Dwyer, A McCann, L Nolan, C McCarthy, M McCarthy, S Fitzgerald, S Brady.

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

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