IT was certainly an interesting season for Cork clubs in the Men’s and Women’s Super League with the ladies of The Address UCC Glanmire leading the way when completing the Grand Slam.
In a season where coach Mark Scannell had to do some serious jumbling with his American professionals but in the end, the duo of Carrie Shepherd and Tierney Pfirman were simply awesome.
A final in January against their great Dublin rivals DCU Mercy was just what the doctor ordered and it proved to be one of the best Women’s deciders for many years.
The Dublin side looked likely winners in the closing quarter as an American Bailey Greenberg basket have them a 14-point lead with the Glanmire coach Mark Scannell forced to call a time-out.
Credit to Scannell he refocused his troops and they went on a seven-point run but DCU still commanded a five-point lead midway through this period.
Cometh the hour cometh the lady as Irish International Claire Melia showed why she is so highly regarded as one of the best players on the Irish basketball circuit.
Melia who had won three consecutive Player of the Month awards in the Super League illustrated once more her huge talent with a buzzer-beater three-pointer that tied the game at 60 points each with four minutes remaining.
The shot brought ecstatic scenes at basketball headquarters as the Glanmire fans sensed the Houdini act was about to be completed.
Captain Aine McKenna who has given great service to Glanmire popped up with a three-pointer and with Melia following up with a brace of free throws the writing was on the wall for DCU.
In the end, Glanmire ended up winning 72-65 after a titanic battle with coach Mark Scannell’s ability to revitalise his side proved crucial coming down the stretch.
Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell had one their best seasons ever in the Super League but sadly for them, they failed to defeat The Address UCC Glanmire in both finals of the league and Champions Trophy.
Back in November, The Address UCC Glanmire were eliminated by Trinity Meteors in the opening round of the 2022/23 Cup and ironically their hero of last season Claire Melia is now strutting her skills with the Dublin side.
Last season Neptune lost out to Tralee Warriors 88-75 in the Pat Duffy Cup final and worse was to follow when they lost to the same side in the Super League final 78-72.
This season Neptune were being touted as the Dream Team with Jordan Blount returning to his former club but they bit the dust in a home quarter-final against Dublin side Eanna.
The good news for Cork basketball is that Ballincollig-based Emporium Cork Basketball saw off Killester in their quarter-final and will now face the might of Eanna. Former Neptune star Sean Jenkins is now part of the Eanna squad in the capital and he played a big part in the downfall of his childhood club.
Ballincollig will feel this is a good opportunity to reach the decider as they look a well-structured side but the fitness of their Spanish star Jose Jimenez Gonzalez will be crucial in their quest for cup honours.
Gonzalez is a quality player and no doubt the Ballincollig officials will be doing everything to have him on court for this big game.