Claire Melia lines out for native club Portlaoise; US college career may be impacted

Claire Melia lines out for native club Portlaoise; US college career may be impacted
Claire Melia of Portlaoise Panthers (right) in action against Deirdre Geaney of Team Tom McCarthy's St Mary's during the Hula Hoops Women's Division One National Cup Semi-Final match between Team Tom McCarthy's St Mary's and Portlaoise Panthers at Parochial Hall in Cork. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Tony Leen

Irish international sensation Claire Melia made a dramatic return to the domestic scene today by lining out for her native club Portlaoise in the women’s Div 1 cup semifinal - but in doing so seems to have pulled the plug on her US college career.

20-year-old Melia has made a huge impression as a rookie with NCAA Div 1 side St Joseph’s, Philadelphia, since joining them last summer, and played for them as recently as last weekend.

But homesickness seems to have afflicted her and upon what was supposed to be a fleeting visit home to Ireland this past week, she elected to stay on and play for Portlaoise in their 60-49 Div 1 Cup semifinal win over St Mary’s Castleisland.

Such a decision severely compromises her future eligibility, and already the St Joe’s roster no longer includes a link profile of Melia, even though they are only midway through their season.

Melia had been recruited by fellow midlander Susan Moran, the airing Hall of Fame player who played for Joe’s herself before becoming a member of their coaching staff, which she remains on.

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