Red-hot Harmon fires Cork girls into final

Team Montenotte 62 DCU Mercy 53

Red-hot Harmon fires Cork girls into final

The Dublin side, presently at the top of the Premier women’s league, were stunned with the intensity shown by their Cork opponents who restricted them to seven points in the opening quarter.

For Montenotte coach Paul Kelleher it was a night to savour and he praised his battle-hardened troops.

“I am not surprised how the game panned out because to defeat DCU Mercy you have to be prepared to go the distance with them,” Kelleher said.

There were many heroes for the Cork side but the performance of American Emilee Harmon came in for special mention from the Montenotte boss. Harmon was simply awesome from start to finish as her 25 points and 13 rebounds suggests.

“I was the person that signed Emilee so the buck stops with me but when other people were doubting her ability I genuinely knew we had acquired a very talented player,” added Kelleher.

“Since we lost to Killester we worked hard on a few negatives in our game and thankfully it seems to be coming together for us. The final against UL Huskies should be a great occasion for basketball fans as I am sure both teams will be very much fired up to win the title.”

The mood in the DCU Mercy camp was simply doom and gloom as head coach Mark Ingle tried to sum up his team’s poor performance.

“When your American has committed three fouls in the opening five minutes and then ends up only contributing a three-point tally you are in trouble early doors,” Ingle said.

“We shouldn’t have ever got near Montenotte but we had a chance and in truth, we could have snatched it but it wasn’t to be.”

In a low-scoring opening quarter the Cork side looked by far the superior side as they raced into a 10-5 lead by the fifth minute.

Amazingly, DCU could only add a further two points — a long range Hayley Lenihan three pointer to ensure Montenotte led 18-7.

Scoring continued to be a rarity on the restart but DCU, inspired by Megan Hoffman and Sarah Woods, battled their way back to reduce the deficit to 26-24 at the interval.

The trend changed little in the third quarter but Montenotte faded in the closing five minutes and allowed DCU take control.

Trailing 44-40 the Cork side needed inspiration and they got it from American Harmon who was simply in another league.

In the closing four minutes Rockall and the Dwyer sisters Niamh and Gráinne raised their game to a new level as they restricted their opponents to a mere nine points coming down the stretch.

In the end though, Montenotte ran out comfortable winners and they can now prepare for a mouth-watering final against defending champions UL Huskies on January 24.

Scorers for Team Montenotte: E Harmon (25), N Dwyer (14), C Rockall (8), G Dwyer (6), A O’Regan (6), H Lenihan (3).

Scorers for DCU Mercy: M Hoffman (17), S Woods (15), L Peat (9), S Maguire (9), R Brittenham 3.

TEAM MONTENOTTE: A McKenna, C Rockall, N Dwyer, A O’Regan, G Dwyer, O Dupuy, L Falvey, K Walsh, A Dunlea, E Harmon, C O’Brien, H McCarthy, H Lenihan, V O’Driscoll, S Kenny.

DCU MERCY: M Trueba, S Woods, M Hoffman, R Brittenham, S McGrath, T Solan, L Peat, S Maguire, D Geaney, L Hoffman, A McLaughlin.

Referees: D Caballe (Cork), I Aim (Dublin), E Perry (Waterford)

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