Courtyard Liffey Celtics were crowned the Women’s Paudie O’Connor National Cup champions for the first time in the clubs history when they had a comfortable win over Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell at the National Basketball Arena today.
In a game where the Kildare side shot 15 three pointers they laid the foundation for their win with a superb opening first half that saw them command a 20 point half time lead.
The scenes at the final buzzer were naturally one of elation for the winners as the Brunell coach Tim O’Halloran praised the winners performance.
O’Halloran said: “It was possibly the best performance given in this Arena for many years as Liffey’s shooting was just impeccable and we have no excuses.
“I would like to thank the effort of my players who gave their all before and during the game and I am sure many of them will get another opportunity to return to this great Arena.”
The opening exchanges were frantic as Sorcha Tiernan only took 10 seconds to nail her opening three pointer.
Tiernan produced a second three a minute later as the huge Liffey Celtics support were in rapture.
Credit to Brunell they bounced back and inspired by Trish Byrne they responded with nine unanswered points.
Incredibly Tiernan shot a third three pointer as Danielle O’Leary was standing too far back from her in defence that allowed her get clear looks.
Once again Liffey increased the pressure and with American Allie Le Claire finding her touch it ensured they led 19-13 at the end of the opening quarter.
Karen Mealey opened up with basket for Liffey on the restart but Tiernan drained two more three pointers that brought her tally to 15 points in the 14th minute.
Brunell were basically allowing Tiernan run riot as coach Tim O’Halloran decided to go back in zone before Le Claire punished them with the seventh three pointer to give Celtics a 12 point lead.
The bottom line was that Brunell were not getting the matches right in defence and that was a huge problem for the Cork side.
Another problem for Brunell was their failure to score as Trish Byrne looked the only player capable of posing Liffey Celtics problems in the offence court.
Incredibly Tiernan drained another huge three pointer in the closing minute of the quarter that ensured Liffey Celtics went in at the break with a 43-23 lead.
Looking at the half time statistics Liffey Celtics had executed 8/14 three pointers as Brunell struggled with a 1/10 that was a mere 10% in comparison to the 58.1% of their opponents.
What looked worse again for Brunell was inside the perimeter where they could only manage 9/35 and there was little doubt they needed a miracle to get back in this game.
Brunell introduced Laura Morrissey at the break to curb the threat of Tiernan and she did a relatively before the ace shooter was replaced just two minutes into the quarter.
Credit to Brunell they battled as if their lives depended on it as they were in the faces of their opponents for long periods of this quarter.
Indeed a superb finish by the Cork side ensured they reduced the deficit to 13 points entering the final quarter.
The one player that deserves credit is Trish Byrne who almost single handily took on Liffey Celtics with some deft moves to the hoop.
Credit to Liffey Celtics they are a polished side ad when their Americans scoring had dried up their Irish players produced the goods.
In the end Brunell will look back on this game with regret as their poor performance of defending ultimately cost them.
On the other side of the coin Liffey Celtics are a superb side as they celebrated their first National Cup win at this level in style.
Scorers for Liffey Celtics: S Tiernan 22, A LeClaire 22, K Mealy 18, B Green 18.
Scorers for Brunell: T Byrne 21, L Rubene 19, S O’Shea 7.
Courtyard Liffey Celtics: A Pupin Romanawska, K Mealey, B Green, S Tiernan, A LeClaire, N Masterson, S Homan, M Howe, A O’Connor, Aine O’Connor.
Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell: L Rubene, T Byrne, A Moynihan, A Waters, D O’Leary, K Diggin, A Dineen, S O’Shea, A Macheta, L Morrissey, M Ganser, A Murphy.
Referees: E Perry (Dublin), L Cassidy (Dublin), N O’Callaghan (Dublin).