Team Montenotte had to dig deep before overcoming Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell in a thrilling Women’s Premier National Cup quarter-final.
The original venue at the Neptune Stadium was deemed unplayable but the Parochial Hall at Gurranabraher came to the rescue to stage the game.
In the opening half, Montenotte looked the dominant side, but despite having a 10-point interval lead, Brunell should have been on parity as they missed a number of open lay-ups.
The third quarter was all Brunell — but when they had Montenotte on the ropes they failed to land the killer blow as a late three-pointer from the superb Niamh Dwyer saw the champions lead 48-45.
Although Brunell took their fight to the wire, Montenotte held their nerve to run out fortunate 76-69 winners, much to the relief of coach Mark Scannell. “We weren’t at our best but I thought we actually never looked likely to lose the game,” Scannell said.
The contribution of Dwyer (28 points) proved crucial as Scannell praised her resilience when his team needed inspiration. “Niamh Dwyer is a born winner and we needed her coming down the stretch when Brunell threatened to get a run on us,” said Scannell.
One worry for Scannell was an injury to Grainne Dwyer, who had to go off injured in the third quarter before returning in the fourth.
Not surprisingly Brunell chief Kieran O’Leary was frustrated with his team’s performance. “It was a game I feel we left behind us as we missed far too many easy baskets and that’s frustrating because I felt Montenotte were there for the taking,” said O’Leary.
Meanwhile, DCU Mercy travelled to Killester and were ambushed as the Clontarf side ran out comfortable 77-57 winners.
Killester were always in control and will now meet Waterford Wildcats in the semi final after they won out 69-59 over UL Huskies.
Meteors surprisingly eliminated Liffey Celtics 74-58 and will now meet the champions Team Montenotte in the semi-final.
In the Men’s Premier National cup quarter-final, Templeogue and Moycullen were involved in an intriguing second-leg clash, with the Dublin outfit prevailing 79-78 after a highly charged game.
Moycullen led 43-41 at the break following an incident that saw three players ejected 40 seconds before the half-time buzzer. Conor Grace committed an unsporting foul and, with opposing players getting involved, he was ejected, along with Moycullen’s Ronan O’Sullivan and Dylan Cunningham.
Killester trailed by 12 points from their first-leg clash with Belfast Star but amazingly ran out 100-51 winners against the northerners.
It proved to be a nostalgic night for Killester veteran Jermaine Turner who finished with a game-high 40 points, much to the delight of coach Brian O’Malley.
“I am delighted in the manner we played as 12 points was always going to be difficult for us to claw back but I thought we produced our best basketball of the season,” he said.
The game was settled in the first half when Killester restricted their opponents to 20 points and raced into a 29-point interval lead.
Star coach Neil McCotter said: “I am stunned on why we failed to show up, but take nothing away from Killester they fully deserved their win.”
UCD Marian’s Daniel James shot 28 points in an 80-67 defeat of DCU Saints to book a quarter-final slot against Swords Thunder, who defeated Eanna 92-86, running out 170-145 aggregate winners.
Swords coach Dave Baker said: “We did the damage in the first leg but I am sure UCD Marian will be a far tougher proposition in the quarter-final.”
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