Cork Basketball: Fr Mathew’s look for big response after National Cup defeat

John Coughlan previews the Basketball Ireland Super League action
Cork Basketball: Fr Mathew’s look for big response after National Cup defeat

Lilla Szucs with possession for r i3PT Fr Mathews against Trinity Meteors. Picture: Larry Cummins

ANOTHER derby in the Women’s Super League with Fr Mathew’s hosting Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell at the Fr Mathew’s Arena tomorrow.

Mathew’s were eliminated from the Paudie O’Connor National Cup last weekend by DCU Mercy and coach Niamh Dwyer will be hoping that her side can bounce back with a win against their Cork rivals.

It has been a disappointing season to date for Mathew’s despite adding three players to their squad for this campaign.

American left-hander Sydney Candeleria looks a decent player and when she is fully focused she has a quick first step and is capable of taking the ball to the hoop at speed.

Lila Szucs is Hungarian-born and played her basketball in Thurles before moving to Cork.

In the opening games of the season, Szucs looked a good signing but her form has dipped as the season matured.

Szucs is capable of posing Brunell problems as she possesses the required skills to compete at this level.

The Brunell story is a little different, with American Mary Dunn still out injured and it’s unknown whether or not she play again this season, with no word about replacing her for the remainder of the campaign.

The Brunell American, Victory Scholar McKayla Roberts, who has been given restricted court time since the season began is mind-boggling.

Roberts did play for 10 minutes in their last league game against Waterford Wildcats, registering eight points, and that showed she has the shooting skills to help her team.

Team coach Liam Culloty has been dealt a tough hand this season, but in fairness changes should have been made in the early weeks of the season.

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell team coach Liam Culloty. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell team coach Liam Culloty. Picture: Howard Crowdy

A game that could go either way and it will be interesting to see how Fr Mathew’s respond after their cup exit.

Another big game at the Neptune Stadium tomorrow will see The Address UCC Glanmire hosting cup semi-finalists and great rivals DCU Mercy.

DCU Mercy come into the game on the back of an impressive cup win over Fr Mathew’s and, although losing their last league game to Killester, they will come to Cork full of confidence that they can upset the reigning champions.

For Glanmire coach Mark Scannell this will be a huge challenge for his side as they bid to keep their title challenge on track.

Scannell said: “We have had some great games against DCU Mercy over the years and no doubt this will be another tough assignment for my players.

We had a weekend off with the cup action last week but have put in some serious work on the training court and hopefully my players will be ready to play.”

Glanmire have huffed and puffed a bit this season and this is a game they must win with a return game in 2023 against the same opposition in Dublin.

American Brittany Byrd is an excellent scorer but players like Aine McKenna and Claire O’Sullivan must put up the numbers to be competitive against the big guns.

DCU Mercy are a solid unit and coach Mark Ingle will be hoping his Irish players like Maeve Phelan and Rachael Huijsdens excel in this crucial game.

In games of this magnitude, the Americans can usually cancel one another out and the outcome of this intriguing clash could be settled by the performances of Irish players from both sides.

Scannell is a top coach when it comes to preparing teams for big games and his squad will need to be on full alert against this talented DCU Mercy team.

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