Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell produced a magnificent closing quarter to book their place into the final of the U20 Women’s National Cup by virtue of a hard-earned 73-65 win over Killester.
Despite a good start, that presented them with a 23-12 lead, Brunell struggled in the second period as poor defending and sloppy shooting and passing options gave the advantage back to their Dublin opponents as they trailed 36-34 at the interval, a period that worried coach Danielle O’Leary.
“We did fine in the opening quarter, but Amy Murphy picked up her second foul and I had to rest her for the second period. In the second quarter we simply didn’t defend and with some of the players rushing their shots it put us in a precarious situation at the interval.”
Brunell refused to panic though, despite the trauma of the U18 defeat to Glanmire on Friday night involving many of the same players.
“It was time to take stock and all we did was calm the girls and tell them if they didn’t play defence on the restart we would be exiting from the cup and the rest is history,” said O’Leary.
“The effort put in particularly in the last quarter was simply incredible and I think we deserved our win for sheer effort against a far bigger side.
“We will be raging underdogs in the final against DCU Mercy but that’s the way we like it as I know this group of players will everything they have got on the court.”
The biggest problem Brunell had in the second period was their failure to hustle and block out. Killester guard Hannah Ferrick was given the freedom of the court and she duly obliged with three stunning 3-pointers that saw them outscore Brunell 22-13 in this quarter.
On the restart Killester looked to be taking total control and when Ferrick registered her fourth three-pointer the lead was extended to nine points.
Credit to Brunell they responded in style and with Amy Murphy getting many of their rebounds they found a way back with Andrea Moynihan outstanding in this period. Trailing 49-48 in the fourth quarter Brunell increased the intensity as the Killester scoring suddenly dried up.
Coming down the stretch Brunell banked crucial shots much to the delight of their loyal fans who willed them on.
Champions DCU Mercy will be Brunell’s final opponents as the Dublin side demolished Portlaoise Panthers 85-33. The Dublin side was seldom troubled as the class of Bronagh Power Cassidy and Rachael Huijisdens saw them command a 25-point interval lead.
Said coach Mark Ingle said: “It was a good weekend for us as all our three teams are in the finals and we have a realistic chance of completing a treble. There is a great bunch of kids in all three teams and let’s hope they all enjoy the wonderful experience of cup final weekend.”
Scorers for Brunell:
A Moynihan 19, S O’Shea 15, K Walsh 13.
E McCloskey 10, H Feerick 15, J Howe 11.
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