It was the biggest weekend of the year in the National Basketball Arena but neither the hype of the event nor the cheers of the crowds affected the St. Mary’s ladies as they lined out against Killester in the NICC women’s final.
By Liz Galwey PRO
They took it all in their stride and remained focused for the full 40 minutes of a game which was dominated by the Castleisland side from start to finish.
A strong opening in the form of two three pointers from team captain Aoife Nolan and two free throws from Lorraine Scanlon saw St. Mary’s take an eight point lead inside the first three minutes of play.
Free Throw Line
Killester hit a single point to put them on the score-board before MVP for the game, Denise Dunlea, added two more for St. Mary’s as did Lorraine Scanlon.
Killester’s first five points of the game came from the free throw line until Ciara Curran made their first score from play seven minutes into the quarter.
Dunlea was quick to respond before Killester’s Hannah Feerick nailed a three for the Dublin side but Dunlea was back again with two inside and big one from way out to leave the score at the end of the first quarter at 10 points to 21 in favour of the Kerry side.
No Strangers to Tallaght
Lorraine Scanlon open the second quarter and Killester responded but both Eileen O’Connor and Mary Herlihy, two who are no strangers to playing in the national arena, hit a three and a two respectively to put the girls in red ahead by 15 points.
St. Mary’s missed a few opportunities under the board but also made some great defensive blocks denying Killester any chance to reduce the gap.
St. Mary’s Sarah O’Sullivan entered the game and hit her target within a minute of stepping on the court as she had done in the semi final.
Dunlea Performing Brilliantly
Dunlea was performing brilliantly at both ends of the court and by half time St. Mary’s led by 17.
The third quarter saw St. Mary’s Scanlon, Dunlea and O’Connor hit baskets inside the first minute and a half while their opponents responded with just a single basket.
However, as the quarter progressed, Killester stepped up their defence and twice prevented St. Mary’s from getting shots off inside of the allocated 24 seconds.
Scanlon Opened the Scoring
Despite the Dublin side’s best efforts though St. Mary’s once again took the quarter hitting 17 points to Killester’s 14 and ensuring that they held a comfortable 20 points entering the final quarter.
It was Lorraine Scanlon who once again opened the scoring for the quarter as she hit one from two from the free throw line. Killester hit two quick scores to reduce the gap to 17; this was the first time since the second quarter that they came within 20 points of their opponents.
A Score Between the Sides
Lorraine Scanlon hit a basket and Sarah O’Sullivan nailed one from outside to put a score between the sides again.
The sides exchanged baskets as the quarter progressed but St. Mary’s never gave their opponents a chance to get back into the game.
Rachel Ryan hit two from two for St. Mary’s to keep the 20 point lead as the clock ran down. Killester’s Catriona White hit a three but it was too late for the north Dublin side and St. Mary’s ran out worthy winners of the NICC Cup.
Lap of the Town
The team returned to Castleisland just after 6pm and as is tradition did a lap of the town before meeting the crowds who turned out in great numbers outside Tom McCarthy’s to congratulate them.
Final Score: Killester 54 – St. Mary’s: 71. MVP for the game: Denise Dunlea, St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s: Lorraine Scanlon, 25; Denise Dunlea, 19; Aoife Nolan, 8; Eileen O’Connor, 6; Mary Herlihy, 6; Sarah O’Sullivan, 5; Rachel Ryan, 2; Orla White, Katie Reidy, Nicole Downey, Labhaoise Walmsley and Ciara Ryan.
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