REIGNING champions The Address UCC Glanmire will need to be at their best to stay in contention in the Paudie O’Connor National Cup when they host Trinity Meteors in a first-round clash at the Neptune Stadium this afternoon (3.30pm).
When the sides clashed in Dublin a fortnight ago Trinity Meteors came out on top and Glanmire coach Mark Scannell knows his side will have it all to do against this crack side.
“The bottom line is that we need huge improvement in the manner we played against them in the league but make no mistake this is a very good Meteors side,” Scannell said.
It will be particularly a nostalgic occasion for the former Glanmire player Claire Melia who will be strutting her skills against her former teammates that she helped win the Grand Slam last season.
“Claire is a quality player both on and off court and it goes without saying that we will need to be on full alert to restrict her influence.”
When Trinity won in Dublin players like Dayna Finn and Cork-born Sarah Kenny shone brightly and it would be foolish to think they over rely on the skills of Melia.
Trinity warmed up for this game with an impressive 89-80 away win at Liffey Celtics and their American Celina Taborn, Sarah Kenny and Rebecca O’Keeffe were outstanding when the game hung in the balance.
Glanmire are led by the outstanding captain Aine McKenna who will need to be back to her best for her team to remain on track to retain their title.
Mia Furlong was outstanding for Glanmire last season that won her a call up to the Senior International squad but this season her form at club level has been questionable and she needs to pick it up big time.
Simone O’Shea showed outstanding form when introduced against Brunell and coach Scannell rewarded her extra court time she richly earned.
The Glanmire American Brittany Byrd has been a revelation since joining the Cork club and her 52-point contribution against Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell was done without too much fuss.
Khiarica Rasheed is the second Glanmire American and although not showing the same scoring skills as Byrd she does decent work in defence.
Claire O’Sullivan is slowly getting up to speed and she could be a key player in this game.
A tough game to call but for me Glanmire’s experience in front of their loyal fans may shade it.
Verdict: The Address UCC Glanmire.
In the Pat Duffy National Cup first round Emporium Cork Basketball entertain winless Galway side Moycullen this afternoon at the Ballincollig Community School (4pm).
The Ballincollig side have only lost one game this season and will go into this game as raging hot favourites.
Moycullen are trying their best to keep it local by playing many Irish players and their policy should be commended but in truth it is a waste of time if you want to compete at this level.
Before the season begun this scribe called for three Irish players to be always on court and although it is rumoured it will be back to two Americans next season the Galway side will be lucky to win a game this season.
Ballincollig were pushed to the limit away to Killorglin last weekend but in truth the Kerry side mainly play Americans and Europeans with few Irish players on display.
The Ballincollig player coach Ciaran O’Sullivan will have a good opportunity to give his fringe players some extra court time and their place in the cup quarter-final looks a formality.
Verdict: Emporium Cork Basketball.
Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell were disappointing last weekend in the Super League defeat to local rivals The Address UCC Glanmire.
To be fair Brunell are playing reasonable basketball but the contributions from their American dup of Mary Dunn and McKayla Roberts is non-existent.
Roberts only contributed two points in 10 minutes of basketball but in her defence, she is not getting the required court time.
In my book Roberts should be playing point guard as her lack of height is giving her problems on the wing.
Dunn played 20 minutes and registered four points and looks a player well off the pace for this level.
Travelling to play Liffey Celtics on their home court is a daunting task and Brunell will need big performances to book a quarter final berth.
The form of Edel Thornton, Lauryn Homan and Katie Walshe has been encouraging but it may not be enough in this game.
Verdict: Liffey Celtics.