St. Mary’s Set the Pace in Women’s National Intermediate Cup

St. Mary’s Ladies Basketball team treated their supporters to an awesome display of control and skill when they defeated Ballincollig on a scoreline of 67-35 in the Hula Hoops Women’s National Intermediate Cup game at Castleisland Community Centre on Sunday afternoon from 3.45pm.

St. Mary’s came out of the traps much quicker with a three pointer from Mary Herlihy and two quick baskets from the O’Connor sisters Phil and Elieen before Ballincollig responded through Niamh Cotter (4).

The work rate in defence by the Castleisland girls saw them finish the quarter much stronger with further baskets from Maura Conroy, Lorraine Scanlon and a reply from Catherine Carroll for the visitors to leave it 18-6 at end of the first.

Intensity and Depth

 The intensity and depth of the home side’s bench was even more evident in the second quarter as all 12 players saw court time and fresh legs and constant rotation by coach, Conor Brosnan saw his side keep the pressure on and wear down the visitors. The turnover included the return from injury of Aoife Nolan.

Eileen O’Connor led the home side with (8) assisted by Lorraine Scanlon (6), Miriam Leane and Mags Daly. With the visitors only basket coming from Sandra Gtienta. At half time it was 36-8.

The third quarter saw the Cork side start much brighter with good baskets from Chiawe Ojini and Niamh O’Connell. The Introduction of Denise Dunlea drove the home side on as she finished the quarter with four fine baskets. The drive was aided by the energetic O’Connor sisters; Karen O’Connor, Leane and Daly – and it left a comfortable margin between the sides of 56-14

Best 10 Minites of Play

 Ballincollig finished the game off with their best 10 minutes of play with brilliant teamwork, passing and great baskets from six different players. This included a three-pointer by Catherine Carroll and, to their credit, they never gave up and won the quarter by double digits 22-11. Unfortunately, for them, it was too little too late.

The home side’s scores coming from Scanlon (4), Daly, Leane, Aishling O’Sullivan and Mags Fitzgerald. Final Score: 67-35

They now await the winners of Killarney Cougars Or Tolka Rovers in the quarter Final.

Teams and Scorers: St. Mary’s Castleisland: Eileen O’Connor (14); Lorraine Scanlon (12); Phil O’Connor (10); Denise Dunlea (8); Miriam Leane (6); Mags Daly (6); Mary Herlihy (5); Maura Conroy (3); Mags Fitzgerald (2); Aishling O’Sullivan (1); Aoife Nolan and Karen O’Connor.

Coach: Conor Brosnan

Ballincollig, Cork: Catherine Carroll (9); Niamh O’Connell (8); Niamh Cotter (5); Chiawe Ojini (5); Sandra Gtienta (4); Cliona Moore (2); Aoblin Hickey (2); Rachel Duffy, Aishling Ní Shuilleabháin, Jen Dinan, Siofra Burgoyne. Coach: George Meade.

Coach Conor Brosnan’s Reaction

Reflecting on his team’s performance, St. Mary’s coach, Conor Brosnan declared himself very happy with the way the girls played.

“We knew coming into it that Ballincollig is a good team as we saw that in the last quarter when they scored 22 points when we probably left our guard down.

“But I feel our girls deserve great credit for never giving them an inch for the first three quarters and they stuck to the game-plan.

“We had our homework done and we rotated fresh legs as much as possible which helped keep the pace of the game up.

“The crowd helped us too, we were delighted with the turn out and it’s much easier to keep a high tempo and the energy going when you’ve a packed hall cheering you on.

“So on behalf of the team we want to thank them all for their support. We have things to work on for the quarter final which is always a good sign – plus we have two or three players to come back into the panel from injury so we’re looking forward to it already,” said a well pleased coach.

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