IT will be a huge day on Sunday for northside club Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell when they play Dublin outfit Meteors at the National Basketball Arena.
Brunell went into the semi-final as huge underdogs against champions Limerick Celtics before producing a masterclass performance and running out 21-point winners.
On their run to the final, Kieran O’Leary departed for a holiday in Australia and the reins were handed to Jodie Black and Edel Thornton.
Incredibly, the work put in during that period worked the oracle.
“Before Kieran departed we put a plan in place as the girls train twice weekly, but luckily, instead of switching off for the Christmas period we actually increased the allocated time and I think that extra work paid off for us in the semi-final,” Black said.
Defence is a serious part of basketball according to Jodie who, along with Thornton and Kevin Harris, began their build-up to the big game.
Black added: “We looked at how Limerick Celtics ran their offensive plays and then it was about how we were going to punish them with our plan.
“Limerick Celtics actually press quite a bit and we had to find a way to break that system and then we had to guide the girls on how we wanted them to shut down their big scorers.”
Having a tall post player is a big advantage for any team and the Brunell coaching staff were intent that Rachael Lynch was going to pose the Shannonsiders problems.
“Rachael has the inches and although people might not give her credit for the work she goes in the offence court, the scenario that Celtics had to try and shut her down gave us many more options.
“Moving the ball quickly gave our guards plenty of scoring opportunities and thankfully it fell into place and the girls can now look forward to a great experience at the National Basketball Arena.”
The attendance at training was always 100%, even at Christmas when a number of players had to join up for training with the Irish squad, the show went on.
“There was international training after Christmas, but when they returned they all worked very hard and that’s the great trait that’s in this team.”
Black paid tribute to Thornton for the incredible contribution she gave to team.
“The bottom line is that you had the Irish senior women’s captain giving great advice to the players and you can see the respect these girls hold for Edel and it was a pleasure working with her.
“Kevin Harris, I know, is Kieran’s right-hand man for many years and again he played his part in getting the team ready for our semi-final.”
Black believes they have nothing to fear as it’s a 50-50 final.
All I will say to the girls is calm the nerves and if we can raise our game, there is every chance we can put in a serious shift.
“O’Leary has been on the line for many finals so he will know what it takes and with a great Cork support it should be a fabulous day in Tallaght.”
On a final note, Black couldn’t avoid thanking the generosity of sponsor Tomas Singleton.
“Tomas is an incredible man and I have told the girls how lucky they are to have somebody like him backing the club.”
A tough final to call, but if Brunell come to play they have every chance of landing the title.
Verdict: Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell.