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RECAP: Mercy’s Unbeaten Run Ended By Maree While Neptune Dig Deep To Overcome Star

RECAP: Mercy’s Unbeaten Run Ended By Maree While Neptune Dig Deep To Overcome Star
By Balls Team
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Maree ended DCU Mercy’s unbeaten streak in the Women’s Super League with a thrilling 72-70 victory in Galway on Saturday evening.

Maree came into the game seeking redemption after losing out to DCU in the opening round of the Hula Hoops Cup, and it was a late Aine McDonagh score that ultimately gave the hosts victory in a nail-biting clash.

A close opening half saw nothing separating the sides, with DCU’s Meredith Burkhall dominating inside, while Fiona Scally picked up some key scores at the other end for Maree to see just four in it at the half, Mercy leading 38-42. Maree came out after the break on a mission, playing excellent defence and executing the fast break. DCU were able to weather the storm, thanks to Sarah Woods and Burkhall once again and held a 55-60 heading into the final quarter. Mercy maintained their lead until late in the fourth, but Maree were right there with them every step of the way through Scally, Claire Rockall and Carly McClendon. With the clock ticking down, there was nothing between the sides and with DCU in foul trouble, the game hung in the balance. It was Aine McDonagh who was the hero for Maree though, as she grabbed a difficult rebound and immediately went coast-to-coast to make an and-one, and it proved to be just enough to seal the win for the Galway side.

Speaking after the game, head coach Joe Shields said, “We respected DCU's record coming down here, they hadn’t been beaten and that shows us that in our first season in the Super League, we belong here. I believe that was our best team performance all season.”

Ambassador UCC Glanmire sent out a firm warning to all the other teams in the league on Sunday afternoon, as they were in dazzling form to see off the challenge of Pyrobel Killester, 95-75. American Shrita Parker was the stand out for a Glanmire side that had stars all over the court, as she weaved her way through time and time again to see Glanmire storm in at half time with a 52-17 point cushion. Despite superb three-point shooting from Killester in the second half – with Aisling McCann, Christa Reed and Rebecca Nagle all getting in on the scoring – Glanmire just had too much in the end.

Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics got back to winning ways on Saturday afternoon, picking up a key road win over IT Carlow Basketball, 58-73. Carlow had the better of the opening two quarters, with Alyssa Velles and Kaitlyn Slagus causing difficulties for the Celtics’ defense. The visitors dug deep in the third, with Kylee Smith asserting her dominance inside, while young star, Niamh Masterson hit some big scores to give Liffey a seven-point lead going into the last. Momentum stayed with Celtics in the fourth, as they put in a big 26-point quarter to see them home to victory. Maxol WIT Wildcats eased passed Marble City Hawks in their south east derby in Waterford on Saturday evening. Another solid display from the Wildcats saw Jasmine Walker, Stephanie O’Shea and Debbie Ogayemi to the fore, as they kept Hawks to 22 points in the half and 43 points overall.

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Elsewhere, a big second half from Fr Mathews was ultimately the difference in their Cork derby showdown with Singleton SuperValu Brunell as they ran out 64-75 point winners in the end. Shannon Brady was in flying form for Mathews and she, along with Grainne Dwyer and Chantell Alford, helped drive home the win.

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Over in the Men’s Super League meanwhile, a Kyle Hosford inspired Coughlan C&S Neptune drove home to an 89-84 point victory over Belfast Star in a thriller in Cork on Saturday evening. Neptune got off to a superb start through great scoring from Nil Sabata and Lehmon Colbert to see them into a 25-17 lead at the end of the first. Star settled better in the second though, with CJ Fulton a stand out at the top of the key, while Delaney Blaylock announced his return from injury with some big scores to edge Star into a two-point lead at the half, 36-38. A massive third quarter from the visitors followed, with Keelan Cairns in impressive form, nailing consecutive three-pointers, while Aidan Quinn, Blaylock and Fulton all drove home some big scores to open up a 64-73 end of quarter lead. Neptune were far from finished though, and Cian Heaphy helped lead the way with some big assists to set up Sabata and Colbert. A huge score from Hosford cut the lead back even further and with momentum swinging in Neptune's favour, Gary Walsh stepped up to fire home two more big scores for the hosts. Hosford delivered a massive three-pointer moments later to edge Neptune into an 87-84 lead and they added two more before the buzzer to run out five-point winners in the end.

Speaking afterwards, head coach Colbert said: “Welcome to Neptune Kyle Hosford! He had some big time plays. We came out of the time out needing a lay up, next time, a three, and he delivered for us tonight. We had some hot and cold spots there, we lost our minds on the defensive end for a while giving Keelan Cairns three or four wide open threes and I told them, ‘he’s 6’10 but he’s going to make them, we absolutely have to hunt him off the three-point line’ and I think we did a great job in the crunch time running him off that line. Every win counts. Now we will switch our attention to the Cup.”

Maree men’s team also had the better of DCU this weekend as they won out by a point in Dublin against DCU Saints. The visitors had a strong start, running into a 31-42 point lead at half time thanks to solid scoring from Darin Johnson and Eoin Rockall. Maree remained in front in the third, despite good work from DCU’s Mike Bonaparte, Martins Provizors and Charlie Coombes to see it 51-59 in favour of the visitors going into the last. The fourth quarter was a titanic battle though, as Bonaparte led the drive for Saints, and with just over two minutes on the clock, the hosts trailed by two points, 68-70. It remained on a knife edge as the clock wound down, with Maree leading by one point with just over 20 seconds to play, before a big Bonaparte score put Saints up by one with just over 10 seconds to go. A well-timed Maree timeout saw Paul Freeman hit a big score for the Galway outfit on the restart, and that would prove to be the game winner as Saints’ buzzer beating effort didn’t find its target and Maree took the win, 72-73.

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Griffith College Templeogue scooped up a decisive road victory on Saturday evening, taking a 64-87 point win over Pyrobel Killester in Dublin. A superb first quarter display from the visitors saw them into a 22-30 first quarter lead, thanks to brilliant scoring from Darren Townes. Templeogue young guard Kris Arcilla stepped up in his first start of the season, making key plays and running the offence to extend the lead, 33-48 at the end of the second. Killester managed to bounce back in the third, with Kason Harrell and Mintatus Bulanovas leading the way, but Templeogue still had the edge, Lorcan Murphy dazzling throughout to see home the win.

DBS Éanna also picked up a key home win on Saturday evening, running out 79-61 point winners over Moycullen behind a combined 43-point tally from Stefan Zecevic and Joshua Wilson. The opening two quarters were neck-in-neck, with Paul Kelly leading the way for Moycullen and Grant Olsson hitting some big scores for the Galway side. A big push from Éanna in the third though saw them open a nine-point lead, with Zecevic causing trouble inside and they pushed on from there to win out well in the end. Elsewhere, UCD Marian picked up a big home win against Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin, winning out 86-79 on Saturday evening. Despite leading for most of the game, UCD Marian had to fight hard to get the win over the line as Killorglin came back in style in the fourth quarter behind a 31-point game from Allan Thomas. Marian dug deep though and a big defensive effort down the stretch along with solid scoring from Marius Markowicz, Neil Baynes and Mike Garrow saw UCD home to a key victory.

Abbey Seals Dublin Lions came agonizingly close to claiming their first win of the season at home on Saturday evening, as they lost out 70-76 to the reigning champions, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors. Lions opened the game in red-hot fashion, stunning the Warriors into a 31-13 point end of first quarter scoreline, with Finn Hughes and James Gormley dominating the scoring. Lions kept the intensity up in the second quarter, and despite a big Tralee push in the second, the hosts still held the lead, 43-37 going in at half time. Warriors regrouped well at the break, with Jonathan Lawton and Paul Dick picking up some big scores in the third, but again, superb shooting from Hughes coupled with some great plays from Conroy Baltimore kept Lions’ in front, leading by 10 going into the last, 61-51. The fourth quarter was where it unraveled for Lions though, with Eoin Quigley, Paul Dick and Lawton leading the way for Warriors, and they kept mounting the pressure before edging into the lead and eventually taking the win by six, 70-76.

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