The Paudie O'Connor Women's National Cup final winner will be determined this evening in Tallaght when The Address UCC Glanmire play DCU Mercy. Here's our big preview of what should be a great final
Road to the Final
The Address UCC Glanmire
SF: vs Singleton SuperValu Brunell: 92-82
QF: vs IT Carlow 97-59
1st round: vs Killester 102-62
SF: vs WIT Wildcats 68-65
QF: vs Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics 60-51
1st Round: vs Team Garvey’s St Mary’s Castleisland 66-42
Cup wins for Mark Scannell and Glanmire have come so often that the current five-year wait must seem like a famine. Glanmire are seven-time champions and the most decorated team in the Cup’s history. Having won four in a row they were denied the famous five in a row in 2018 when DCU Mercy won their third title in 2018. Amazingly, these two sides have combined for eight of the last twelve Cup titles.
Glanmire are the perennial powerhouse who look favourites to extend their dominance in the competition. The Cork team have only lost two games this season and both were over one weekend when their Irish International star Claire Melia was unavailable. They have the most potent offense in the league and will be difficult to slow down.
DCU Mercy are in a rebuilding mode after losing key players like Sarah Woods. Despite that they have a talented young group and with Mark Ingle on the sideline they have the tactical know-how to win on the big occasion. Whether DCU can score enough to keep up with Glanmire will be the big question.
Key Match Ups
Claire Melia vs Rachel Huijsdens
It’s seemed inevitable that Ireland’s golden generation would quickly start contesting major trophies against each other. Melia and Huijsdens form a brilliant frontcourt pairing for Ireland and have done so since underage, yet this weekend they will be trying to outdo each other in the Arena. Melia has looked peerless this season winning multiple player of the month awards in her first season for Glanmire. She can score on the inside and perimeter and is the most gifted passer Ireland has seen since Michelle Fahy. Huijsdens has the height and intelligence to cause Claire issues and knows her game better than anyone in the country and yet it’s a mammoth task. DCU really need a way for Rachel to win the matchup although it’s a big ask.
Alarie Mayze vs Carrie Shepard
The two American guards have scoring ability, and lots will be asked of them. Mayze has more size but Shepard looks to be the better shooter of the two. At times Mark Ingle will need Mayze to impose her will on the game and create opportunities for Mercy. Shepard can be more selective of her opportunities as Glanmire have so many options that she can pick her moments. This is another matchup that Mercy must win.
Bailey Greenberg DCU’s American, was fantastic in the semi final and has the ability to score in a variety of ways. She hit back-to-back three pointers to open up the game against Wildcats but also showcased great footwork around the basket. Mercy needs all of the scoring they can find so a big game for Greenberg is a must.
Glanmire have so many potential game winners including new American Tierney Pfirman as a major standout. That said, Aine McKenna is the one to watch this weekend. She’s had massive games for Glanmire on this stage before and was key to pushing the pace for Glanmire in their semi-final win. Melia and the Americans draw so much attention but if Mercy forget about McKenna, it could be a long day for them.
What to watch out for
DCU Mercy are a great defensive team and have kept multiple opponents below 50 this year. Glanmire are an offensive juggernaut so something will have to give. If DCU can make the game ugly and scrappy they have a chance at winning. In the league game Glanmire barely won on a low score line. By the end of the first quarter we’ll have a good idea of who’s tempo the game is being played at. Glanmire can likely win in either style but it’s hard to see DCU winning a high scoring game.
Where to watch
You can watch the game live on TG4 at 5.20pm on Sunday.