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UL were crowned double champions after a 66-54 victory over Team Montenotte Cork

Updated: Saturday, 24 Mar 2012 10:17

University of Limerick - Double champions
University of Limerick - Double champions

UL were crowned double champions after a 66-54 victory over Team Montenotte Cork in the final of the Nivea Women´s SuperLeague. James Weldon’s side secured the National Cup earlier this year.

UL coach James Weldon’s said: "To win 35 games in a row is unbelievable. I can´t say enough about the commitment and dedication of those girls.

"They had us well scouted.You have to give credit to Cormac (O’Donoghue) and his Montenotte team.We maybe could have been further ahead at half time but we have a great system and a great belief here."

However the coach would not be drawn on the future after this record-breaking season. "We´ve just won the treble. We will go and enjoy this and then we can think about what we are going to do next," he added.

A decisive opening from the Cork outfit saw them take an early 6-2 lead, thanks in large part to some sterling work from Valerie O´Driscoll. UL responded through Aoife McDermott, who netted to bring her side back to within two.

UL's success this campaign has been built on a foundation of controlled attacking play and James Weldon’s side were soon back on level terms midway through the first.

Rachel Clancy hit a huge three and drew the foul to send UL into a three point lead soon after. Claire Rockall and O'Driscoll combined in response for Team Montonotte, but it was UL who were clearly in the ascendency at the end of the first quarter with a 19-12 lead.

Cormac O Donoghue's side came back brilliantly at the beginning of the second quarter, relentlessly whittling the UL lead down to just three points. However UL are a side not easily rattled, and captain Rachel Vanderwal was a picture of composure as her side reaffirmed their dominance.

A wonderful combination between Michelle Fahy and Vanderwal stretched the difference back to seven. Aine McKenna hit a vital three with seconds remaining in the second to bring the Cork side to within three. Half time 33-30 UL.

UL began the third determined not to concede further ground to their focused opponents and were again more clinical in attack as Vanderwal and co slowly built up a ten point lead.

Team Montonotte were showing incredible appetite to get back into the game, yet every time they got to within range, UL underlined their quality by eking out important scores to keep the Cork side at bay. However, Montenotte simply would not go away and managed to get within three heading into the final quarter. 46-43.

The theme of the game was borne out once again in the fourth as UL sought to blunt the Montenotte attack, and in so doing, managed to establish a nine point lead with four minutes remaining.

James Weldon's side were able to close out the game in the final stages, deservedly securing a memorable double, 66-54 with a thoroughly professional display.