Fr Mathew's see off Brunell in Cork basketball derby

Shannon Brady top-scored for the home side
Fr Mathew's see off Brunell in Cork basketball derby

I3PT Fr Mathew's Amy Murphy racing past Singleton SuperValu Brunell's Lauryn Homan during the Women's Superleague at Fr Mathew Arena. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

I3PT Fr Mathew’s 82 Singleton SuperValu Brunell 72

I3PT Fr Mathew’s beat Singleton SuperValu Brunell in a hard-fought Women’s Super League game at Fr Mathew’s Arena on Saturday evening. 

Brunell went into this game without their American player Mary Dunn, as she has returned home to recover from injury, so are actively trying to recruit a new American player for the remainder of the season. The one thing that caught the eye was how many young players that were on both squads playing at this level, which is great for both clubs going forward and Cork basketball in general. 

This was a very close game with Mathew’s only pulling away in the final few minutes.

Brunell raced into a 6-0 lead within the first two minutes with baskets from Edel Thorton and Daniel O’Leary. However, the home side Fr Mathew’s responded with two baskets inside the paint by their American player Shannon Brady and former Irish international Grainne Dwyer to reduce the deficit 6-4 after three minutes of play. Thorton was causing Mathew’s plenty of problems in the offensive court and when she nailed a monstrous three-pointer plus two stunning drives to the basket her side led 13-8 midway through the opening period. 

Mathew’s continued to get joy inside the paint as the visitors struggled to contain Brady and Dywer, but when Amy Murphy nailed a big shot from beyond the arc her side led for the first time 19-17. Brunell replied with another three from O’Leary and a foul shot by young Rachel Lynch to lead 23-20 at the end of the first quarter.

The home side made a stunning start to the second period scoring 10 points in succession from Brady and their second American Sydney Candelaria to lead 30-23 after 13 minutes of play. They increased their lead 33-23 when Amy Murphy nailed another big three forcing Brunell coach Liam Culloty into a timeout to talk things over with his team. 

O’Leary got the visitors up and run with a pull-up jumper from the foul line and when she nailed a baseline three-pointer the game was level 34-34 in the 16th minute. Mathew’s finished the quarter with a flurry of baskets from Dwyer and Candelaria to take a 44-36 at the half.

Brunell's Edel Thornton breaks between Grainne Dwyer and Amy Corkery. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Brunell's Edel Thornton breaks between Grainne Dwyer and Amy Corkery. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The home side made another spectacular start to the third period with two inside baskets from Brady and another three-pointer by Amy Corkery to lead 51-41. However, Thorton and O’Leary were simply magnificent for Brunell adding a total of 10 points between them in a two-minute spell to reduce the deficit 52-49 midway through the period. 

Mathew’s increased their lead when Dwyer then powered her way to the basket to increase her team's lead 55-49, but an offensive rebound and put-back by Thorton followed by a stunning three had the game level 57-57 with 20 seconds remaining in the period. Mathew’s regained the lead 60-57 when Lilla Szucs finished the quarter with a stunning buzzer-beating three.

Lauryn Homan gave Brunell the perfect start to the final quarter with two strong moves to the basket and a foul shot to tie the score 65 apiece, however, two shots from beyond the arc from Lesley-Ann Wilkinson and Candelabra gave the home side a 70-65 point lead in the 34th minute. They increased their lead with another two inside bucket by Brady to lead 74-65 with four minutes remaining in the game. 

To be fair to Brunell to operate without an American player and be so competitive was a credit to their club.

They found Candelaria too hot to handle as she nailed a long-range three-pointer and a short-range baseline jumper coming down the stretch and her side finished the game in style 82-72.

Top Scorers for Fr Mathew’s: Shannon Brady 23, Grainne Dwyer 16, Amy Corkery 13.

Brunell: Edel Thorton 28, Danielle O’Leary 28, Lauryn Homan 12.

I3PT FR MATHEW’S: Amy Corkery, Lesley-Ann Wilkinson, Amy Murphy, Abby Murphy, Grainne Dwyer, Arianna Price, Lilla Szucs, Meabh Humphrey’s, Olukayode Bamidelemi, Candelaria Sydney, Shannon Brady. 

SINGLETON SUPERVALU BRUNELL: Roberts McKayla, Kelly Sexton, Rebecca Sexton, Emily Payton-Blake, Lauryn Homan, Danielle O’Leary, Lauren Crean-Hickey, Edel Thorton, Alex Macheta, Katie Walshe, Rachel Lynch, Olivia Dupuy, Avril Braham.

Referees: Stephen Shaughnessy (Tipperary), Audrius Pauliukenas (Carlow).

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