Two cup crackers on the cards

GLANMIRE and Claregalway will set the scene this evening on a weekend of high octane National Cup basketball when they go head to head in the Women’s U18 decider tonight.

The westerners are favourites despite the Cork side going into the final as holders, with Glanmire coach Mark Scannell believing this game is to close to call.

“Claregalway are an explosive side and if we are not alert in defence, they will be murder us,” Mark said.

“I think it’s the most evenly matched finals for years at this level and sometimes players that you expect to do the business fail to show up and some lesser light becomes heroes.”

Scannell played international basketball with the Claregalway boss Mick Murray and he has a very high regard for him.

“Mick is one of the good guys and he will have his team well prepared, and ironically this evening both of us have daughters on opposite sides.

“It’s very simple if our game plan works there is every chance of us winning but we are definitely giving Claregalway the respect they deserve.”

The Claregalway coach believes this is the biggest game in the club’s history.

“We have never won a national cup at any level and when you get the opportunity, it has got to be taken,” Mick said.

“Both sides have players that know one another well as they are international colleagues and whoever wins the title will be made work to the wire.”

Clodagh Scannell’s performance will be crucial to Glanmire as will the contributions of Laoise Murphy and Kate McAuliffe.

Claregalway captain Ciara Newell is a free scoring guard and with Deirdre Breenan and Lauren Murray at the post they will pose the champions problems.

Dublin side Templeogue will go into the Men’s U18 final (8.30pm) brimming with confidence following their magnificent semi-final win over Cork outfit Ballincollig.

Twins Neil and Ian Lynch are deadly shooters and with Stephen Fagan an astute point guard they have the firepower to upset Tolka Rovers.

Tolka were also superb in their semi-final win over the champions St Mary’s Castleisland and coach Carmel Kilmartin believes her side will be up for battle.

“We have a belief in this side and if we repeat our semi-final performance I see no reason why we cannot compete with a very good Templeogue side,” Carmel said.

“Our club is buzzing and the guys are aware how important this final is to all concerned.”

Captain Paul Caffrey is an outstanding point guard and with 6’ 8’’ Mark Blanchfield at the post they are capable of posing their Dublin opponents many problems.

Templeogue coach Danny Nelson is looking forward to the final knowing the mettle of his side will be tested.

“I have told the lads to enjoy the occasion and hopefully things will go well for us on the night,” Nelson said.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up