DCU Mercy solidified themselves as the dominant force in the Women’s Super League with a definitive 96-71 victory on home turf against an in form Fr Mathews side Sunday afternoon.
Clearly satisfied with the win, coach Mark Ingle praised his charges after the final whistle.
“The first quarter we came out with all guns blazing, but in fairness they had a big win last week so there was a little bit of noise about Fr Mathews coming up here on a mission.
“We know they’re a good team, but we also know that we must take care of our own business.”
There was another huge performance from Meredith Burkhall who finished the game with 34 points! Mercy came out of the gates on fire, and sprang out to a 56-33 half time lead. Fr Mathews tried to regroup at the half, with Shannon Brady and Grainne Dwyer starting to find their way into the game. But it wasn’t enough as Sarah Woods and Burkhall had an impressive second half for Mercy, and kept the scores coming in. The defensive performance was just as impressive for Mercy as they hung on to the first half lead, to win out by 24 points in the end.
Ambassador UCC Glanmire were also impressive on Sunday, taking home an 85-71 point win over Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics in Cork. Shrita Parker was outstanding for the Cork side, tallying 38 points in the contest. Tatum Neubert Aine McKenna also contributed heavily for Glanmire on both ends of the floor.
After the contest, coach Mark Scannell paid tribute to both sides while setting his sights on a tough run in for his team.
“We have to work hard now going forward and try to finish the season strong. There’s some big games coming up over the next 5 weeks. Fair play to Liffey they kept going and gave us loads of problems especially second half.”
Maree also kept the pressure on the league leaders, winning 87-52 on their home court. Maree dominated from the start, with scoring from Claire Rockall and Carly McClendon to see them lead 36-26 at the half. Wildcats had big scoring players of their own with Cathy Kavanagh, Jasmine Walker and Stephanie O’Shea all hitting double figures. Maree head coach Joe Shields said: “It was probably our best team performance so far this season. We knew we had to be at our best against a good Waterford side. It’s the business end of the league now so every win is vital.”
Elsewhere in the league, Singleton SuperValu Brunell got the win in a thrilling game over Marble City Hawks in Kilkenny on Saturday afternoon, winning by just one in the end, 57-58.
Pyrobel Killester were impressive on Saturday afternoon, taking home an 68-87 point win over IT Carlow in Carlow.
In the Men’s Super League, there was eventual cause for celebration when Abbey Seals Dublin Lions got their first win of the campaign, 63-48 at home to Moycullen. A low scoring first half display saw the home side edge a 27-21 first half lead, thanks to brilliant scoring from Finn Hughes, who went on to finish the game with 17 points in a terrific display by the young guard. Lions tails were up as they increased the lead in style with a great third quarter performance that was led by Hughes and good scoring from James Gormley to extend the lead to 43-30. Moycullen tried to push back in the fourth with Daniel Vila (17 points) but the combination of Hughes and Gormley, stopped any Moycullen momentum.
Speaking afterwards, Abbey Seals Dublin Lions boss Rob White stated: “It’s a pity it didn’t come sooner in the year. It’s great for the lads, we have no professionals anymore as we took the decision to build on experience for next year. For young team with an average age of 18-19, it’s a massive win.
In an overtime thriller, DCU Saints upset their local rivals UCD Marian by a scoreline of 83-72. Saints earned the early lead after the first 22-18 following some great scoring from Charlie Coombes and Michael Bonaparte. It was more of the same in the second quarter, and with Bonaparte leading the charge, Saints begun to extend the lead as the first half finished, 43-35.
UCD Marian bounced back well in the third quarter though, with Mike Garrow and Aiden Dunne making big shots, while UCD added some fast break points as they began to full court press, end of the third UCD railed by just two, 57-55. Both teams traded baskets and made crucial free throws down the stretch, with the two stars of the game Bonaparte and Garrow shining brightest, end quarter four, 70-70, setting up an exciting overtime.
The run favoured Saints early, with Bonaparte again to the fore, UCD energy seemed to be drained as they struggled to score, the hosts held on for an important victory.
Reflecting afterwards, DCU Saints player Michael Bonaparte stated “I want to say thanks to the guys, we finally got that monkey off our backs. We’ve had five or six games losing by less than 3 and 4 points, I was thinking not tonight again but the guys stepped up we made big shots and plays plus a bit of luck.”
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors did what they needed to do to maintain pole position at the top of the league, emerging comfortable 82-64 winners in the Kingdom.
After a slow start for the Kerry side, the second half scoring burden was carried by Ivan Bogdanovic and Daniel Jokubaitis.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Pat Price said: “The business part was keeping focused even though we hadn’t pulled away, but we were confident that we would wear them out. Everybody stepped in whether it was on the defensive end or in the stuff that didn’t show up on the scoresheet… It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, coaches adjust, teams adjust, and Brian is a great coach.”
A late push from Griffith College Templeogue meanwhile saw them overcome Coughlan CandS Neptune on the road, 79-95 on Saturday evening, keeping Tralee within the sights of the Dublin side.
DBS Eanna however lost ground on the top spot, Maree stunning the visitors on Saturday evening, running out 76-64 victors in Galway.
Belfast Star were too successful against Keanes Supervalu Killorglin, Aidan Quinn finishing with 24 in a 77-69 win.