Cork basketball: Glanmire's major changes could open the floor for the rest

Mark Scannell's side dominated last season but can their new Americans make the same impact as their predecessors
Cork basketball: Glanmire's major changes could open the floor for the rest

Defending Super League champions The Address UCC Glanmire begin the defence of their title against Killester: Glanmire’s Mia Furlong, Brittany Byrd, head coach Mark Scannell, Aine McKenna and Khiarica Rasheed at Fitzgerald's Park. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

REIGNING SuperLeague and Cup champions The Address UCC Glanmire will begin the start of their Women’s Super League campaign this afternoon when they host Killester at the Neptune Stadium (3.30pm).

It will be a huge test for the Cork side this season as last season’s Americans Carrie Shepherd and Tierney Pfiffer have not returned and will be replaced by the new duo of Brittany Byrd and Khiarica Rasheed.

“We have a few changes in personnel but look I am long enough in the sport to realise that’s how the cookie crumbles and it all starts again on Saturday against Killester,” Scannell said.

“Remember Killester defeated us on home court last season and they always bring heavy scoring Americans so it goes without saying we will need to be at it from tip-off.”

This season Glanmire decided to go with Americans Byrd and Rasheed and reports from the camp suggest coach Scannell is happy with this pairing.

Another big plus is the return of Claire O’Sullivan and her experience and class will be welcomed by coach Scannell and teammates.

Claire Melia was the standout Glanmire Irish player last season but this season decided to strut her skills in Dublin with Trinity Meteors.

Long-serving Casey Grace hasn’t returned for pre-season training and her power on the boards will be missed by the Cork side as will Miriam Loughery, who is on maternity leave.

Amy Dooley will now have increased minutes but on the other side of the coin Annaliese Murphy is back to full fitness and Louise Scannell is another player that looks to be getting back to her best.”

The former Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell guard Simone O’Shea has re-joined Glanmire and she will give them added strength at both ends of the floor.

“This season a lot of teams have went with securing bigger Americans and we have to reinvent ourselves and find another way to win,” concluded Scannell.

Killester will be led by Irish International Mimi Clarke with Mark Grennell back at the helm following the departure of their French coach.

This will be the acid test for Glanmire but home advantage will probably swing it their way.

Verdict: The Address UCC Glanmire.

Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell open their campaign tomorrow with a mouth-watering home clash against DCU Mercy at the Parochial Hall.

Lauryn Homan of Singleton's SuperValu Brunell passing the ball as she is challenged by Killester players Myah Taylor and Michelle Clarke. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Lauryn Homan of Singleton's SuperValu Brunell passing the ball as she is challenged by Killester players Myah Taylor and Michelle Clarke. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Former coach Tim O’Halloran was replaced at the end of last season having taken his side to a runner-up slot in the Super League and National Cup.

Liam Culloty, the former Castleisland coach, takes over at the helm and this season Brunell have recruited Americans McKayla Roberts a 5' 4" point guard and Mary Dunn a 6' 3" centre.

DCU Mercy under coach Mark Ingle recruited Lindsay Abed and Brittany Roberts and with the nucleus of promising young players, they will be hoping to get their season off to a to winning one.

A tough game to call but DCU Mercy might just shade a close encounter.

Verdict: DCU Mercy.

Last season Fr Mathew’s had their worst in their short time competing in the SuperLeague and coach Niamh Dwyer is hoping they can make a much-improved impact in this campaign.

"I couldn’t fathom what went wrong as we went to Dublin and defeated DCU Mercy on their home court and the following week we lost to at home to Trinity Meteors.”

The Kildare side recruited coach Karl Kilbride from Killester and with a decent crop of Irish players and two solid Americans this will be a tough test for the Cork side.

"All I will be looking for is some consistency as we have the nucleus of a good side and should be more than capable of competing with the majority of sides."

This season Mathew’s have recruited Lilla Szcuz and Meabh Humphreys from Tipperary Knights, Lesley Ann Wilkinson from Glanmire. and Bami Olukayode from Waterford Wildcats.

This new American is Sydney Candelaria from Fort Lewis College and her partnership with Shannon Brady will test the resolve of Liffey Celtics.

Verdict: Fr Mathew’s.

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