In a rip-roaring first half, both sides traded baskets for long periods, with a late Aine McKenna basket ensuring the Cork side led by the minimum at the break, 43-42.
In the second half, Montenotte took total control as they played their best basketball of the season, with Niamh Dwyer finishing with a game high 27 points.
After the game, coach Mark Scannell spoke of his delight to see his team produce such quality basketball in a match of this importance.
“It was a pressure game and although Liffey Celtics put it up to us in the first half, our class and character came through in the second.”
There was an air of disbelief in the Celtics camp as coach Vinnie O’Keeffe reflected on his team’s defeat.
“We competed well in the first half and only trailed by a single point but in the second, they shot the ball extremely well and we basically struggled in that department,” O’Keeffe said.
DCU Mercy kept their top-four ambitions alive with a hard-earned 54-43 win over Killester at Clontarf. In a low-scoring game, DCU led 30-24 at the break and despite Killester’s efforts, their relegation worries remain very much a reality.
UL Huskies produced the shock of the season when defeating Singletons Supervalu Brunell 80-60.
Kelsey Harris scored 22 points, with fellow American Laura Hughes chipping in for 18 as the Cork side were stunned.
Killester must win one of their final two games to avoid relegation as UL’s hopes of survival hang by a thread.
In the Men’s Premier League, leaders C&S UCC Demons amassed an incredible 74 points in the first half against DCU Saints before running out 117-78 winners.
Player-coach Colin O’Reilly led by example to celebrate his appointment as senior Irish men’s coach for a tournament in China in July.
Speaking after the game, O’Reilly paid tribute to his team. “Our first half was solid but it was our defence that impressed me most as we restricted DCU to 34 points and that set the foundation for our scoring onslaught.”
Second-placed Swords Thunder were almost toppled by Dublin Inter at Mountview before eventually running out 67-64 winners.
In an exciting final quarter, Inter threw everything at their opponents but a 16-point contribution from Isaac Westbrooks settled Thunder nerves in a hard-earned win.
Swords Thunder were involved in their second game of the weekend when they travelled to Limerick yesterday and came away with a 78-65 win over UL Eagles. The game was close at the break with Thunder leading 37-35 but eye-catching performances from Juan Torres and Marcus McDaniel ensured Swords’ faint title hopes remain alive.
Killester were stunned last week when losing at home to DCU Saints and they were pushed all the way again before eventually disposing of Belfast Star 83-81, with Jermaine Turner leading the scoring on 23 points.
BFG Neptune made it two wins on the bounce when disposing of UL Eagles 88-84 at the UL Arena.
The Cork side led 49-42 at the interval and a 33-point tally from American Michael Bonaparte sealed the points for the Leesiders.