Rejuvenated Ambassador UCC Glanmire have booked a semi-final berth in the Women’s Paudie O’Connor National Cup following their 74-66 win over Maxol WIT Wildcats.
In a cup tie where the physicality stakes were at fever pitch, Mark Scannell’s Cork side controlled the first half with captain Aine McKenna helping her team to a nine-point interval lead.
The second half was a dogfight but the brilliance of Glanmire’s import from Virginia Beach, Shrita Parker (26) helped her team stay in control when Wildcats threatened a late revival.
The victory puts Glanmire into a Cup semi on the second weekend in January, in Cork, against Probel Killester.
Scannell said: “Wildcats made us work hard but we did relatively well at times and missed a lot of easy baskets that would normally drop for us but at the end of day we got what we came here for.”
Killester turned the form book upside down in defeating Fr Mathews 72-64 in a thrilling quarter-final at the IWA Clontarf.
The Cork side were strong favourites to win but Killester had other ideas and with American Adella Randle El (25) on fire with her outside shooting they edged ahead at the break 33-30.
Momentum stayed with Killester in the third, opening up a 10-point lead at one stage, 44-34, but again, Brady and Simone O’Shea were on hand to claw the gap back for Mathews.
Strong shooting from Rebecca Nagle, Randle El and Aisling McCann kept Killester’s noses in front, 52-45, but the result was very much still in the melting pot.
A nerve-wracking fourth quarter followed, with Killester just managing to keep ahead early on. Mathews were dealt a blow when Grainne Dwyer had to leave the court due to injury, but Chantell Alford and O’Shea stepped into the gap in style, knocking down some big scores to leave just one point between the sides.
However, a huge three from Nagle with 42 seconds to go was the clincher for Killester, as she stretched out their lead once more, and they managed to hold on well to win out 72-64 in the end.
A relieved Karl Kilbride stated: “That was an exciting one. After our last two performances, we took a lot of stick – and rightly so – for our defensive performances and we put an awful lot of work in this week into making sure that if we were going to lose this game, we’d have no regrets because we didn’t play defence.
“Credit to Fr Mathews though, they just kept coming back at us. We would get into a six or eight point lead and they kept hitting big shots, Chantell Alford was brilliant and Shannon Brady caused us big problems.
Overall, I’m just so delighted with our turnaround from the last two weeks. If we can play defense like we did tonight going forward, we’re confident that we’ll give anybody a game and we’re excited to move forward.”
Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell ended their losing sequence with a hard-fought 69-62 win at Marble City Hawks. Brunell went into the game minus their American Victory Scholar Aryn McClure but with Sinead O’Reilly replacing her the Cork side led from start to finish.
It has been a tough season for Brunell chief Tim O’Halloran but he is now hoping things can change for the better. “We need that win and now our total concentration will be getting some league wins under our belt as our form has been disappointing in recent weeks.”
DCU Mercy will be Brunell’s opponents in the semi-final following their comfortable 86-45 win over IT Carlow.
In a one-sided encounter DCU had too much class for their Carlow opponents with coach Mark Ingle pleased with his sides attitude following last week’s league loss at Maree.
“We prepared after losing to a very good Maree side on the road and all our focus was on getting a win but we are not even contemplating our semi-final against Brunell.”