THE UCC first years returned to Leeside victorious after their win in the womens’ Freshers tournament last weekend at the University of Limerick.
The ladies team ended a seven year drought in the competition with a handful of wins concluding with a comprehensive final triumph over Trinity College Dublin.
UCC opened their tournament with a narrow defeat at the hands of NUI Galway. Three points separated the sides at the final buzzer in a game which saw Fr Mathews’ Amy Corkery have twenty-three points including four three-pointers.
The Cork side showed tremendous resilience in bouncing back with their next game over University College Dublin.
UCC were quick out of the gates, racing into the lead early on through a Brunell duo of Natasha Bowdren and Mia Finnegan.
They continued to keep hold of the lead and closed out the game with a scoreline of 46-35.
The side coached by Fr Mathews’ Lainey Nolan and Edel O’Raw were hopeful of posting their second consecutive win in a pivotal group game against the hosts, the University of Limerick.
Both sides’ defensive prowess was on show in a tense battle where the two teams knew that a loss could decide their tournament fate.
A strong performance from Glanmire’s Eimear Burke was enough in the end as UCC toppled NUIG by five points, 32-27.
Another heated contest was on the horizon as Trinity College Dublin awaited them in the final round robin game.
The game held less significance due to the other schools’ results, meaning UCC would be through to the final on points difference once they kept the game close.
An upsetting two-point defeat was enough to see UCC qualify for the final of the competition with the opportunity for revenge over Trinity as they faced off once again in the final.
UCC scored relentlessly to open the game, with a Bowdren three-pointer securing a fourteen-point lead for her team after the first quarter.
It was clear that TCD had expended all of their energy in the prior group game, with the six-person team unable to combat the depth in talent of the Cork squad.
UCC refused to relent in a second quarter which saw Finnegan hit her third and fourth three-pointers of the half to help push the margin to twenty-two.
The game was over as a contest as Cork kept on scoring with Clodagh Ginty getting on the scoresheet late before Burke finished out the game with seven points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for UCC.
Brunell’s Mia Finnegan was awarded MVP of the tournament after her twenty-point performance in the final over TCD before bringing the cup back to Cork for the first time since 2015.