St. Mary’s secured a place in the quarterfinal of the U-18 women’s national cup at the weekend. The Castleisland side went unbeaten throughout the qualifying tournament registering huge scores in all games.
By: Liz Galwey, PRO
There are 13 players on the squad and according to coach Liam Culloty they all contributed at different stages over the weekend.
In their first game they met Tipperary and they set the pace for the weekend by taking an early lead and building on this as the game progressed.
Final score in this game was St. Mary’s 79 Tipperary 42
A Great Start
Game two was against DCU and once again the Castleisland side got off to a great start, they led by seven at the end of the first and increased it as the game went on. They had a huge final quarter and took the game by 19 to secure themselves a place in the semi-final on Sunday.
The semi-final saw the girls give another impressive performance, they met Tullamore and once again girls in red took control from the start leading by six at the end of the first and by 11 at the interval. They held a comfortable 20 point lead going into the final period and went on to take the game 90 points to 57.
Final Place Secured
A place in the final ensured the team a quarter final place for this seasons cup but a win would secure a home venue in December. This game mirrored the previous ones as St. Mary’s led throughout and booked their home quarter final with a 65 to 55 win over Portlaoise Panthers.
Liam Culloty is delighted with the team’s performance over the weekend, he singled out the final as being a particularly good game.
Never Backed Down
“The final against Portlaoise is one of the best games I’ve been involved in over the last few years. Portlaoise is a really strong team with six Irish Internationals but our girls never backed down from the challenge and really took the game to them from the start. Rachel Ryan, Siofra O’Shea and Shauna Ahern were outstanding, especially down the stretch when Portlaoise were throwing everything at us to try and get back in the game.”
Home Quarter Final
Coach Culloty, who is now looking forward to a home quarter final says he is impressed with the team as a whole and added: “Overall the squad of players is really strong and someone different emerges in each game to step up for us and help get us over the line.”
Upped the Intensity
Assistant coach Aoife Nolan was equally impressed with the team performances over the weekend, she gave particular mention to the final: “They really upped the intensity and showed their class against a favoured Portlaoise side. It was a phenomenal game of basketball to watch and to secure home advantage going into the next round of the tournament is great,” said Aoife.
St. Mary’s will meet Waterford Wildcats in Castleisland in the quarter final. The time and date of this fixture is yet to be confirmed.
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