Liffey Celtics lifted the Hula Hoops National Womens Cup trophy for the first time at the National Basketball Arena and in the process underlined their dominance of the domestic season so far in a 91-66 victory over Brunell.
Celtic’s total was the second highest in the history of the cup and it was achieved with a high standard of ‘three-point’ shooting which characterised much of their approach to the game.
As Brunell’s defence stood back in the first half in an apparent attempt to force Celtics into shooting from the perimeter, the ploy was ruthlessly punished in particular by Sorcha Tiernan’s MVP award performance.
Tiernan scored 19 points in the opening half, six of them in the first 90 seconds of the game, as she made five successful ‘three-pointers’ from seven attempts before the half time interval.
Tricia Byrne spearheaded a third quarter flurry by Brunell as they halved the deficit but it was never a serious looking comeback.
In the final quarter, Celtic’s Americans Allie LeClaire and Briana Green began to run the show and they pulled away again to win with ease to set up the now distinct possibility of a league and cup double.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Division One National Cup title is winging its way to Galway, after the unbeaten Maree saw home an absolute thriller against Ulster University Elks.
An MVP performance from Tiernan’s international teammate, Dayna Finn, was the difference down the stretch and she, along with the experience and talent of Claire Rockall helped keep Maree’s noses in front at crucial points in the game.
It wasn’t easy though, as Aoife Callaghan, Kollyns Scarbrough and Enya Maguire shot the lights out in the Arena, and despite tying the game level with the clock ticking towards the final minute, Finn and Catherine Connaire had the final saw to win out on a scoreline of 82-76.
Defending champions, DCU Mercy, retained their Hula Hoops U20 Women’s National Cup title in superb fashion this afternoon, seeing off the challenge of a gritty and up-and-coming young Portlaoise Panthers side 62-52.
A combined 50-point contribution from Ireland internationals Rachel Huijsdens and Bronagh Power Cassidy was the difference on the day, as they not only led the way on the scoring, but also were key on the defensive end to stop the threat of Portlaoise’s Claire Melia, Gillian Wheeler and Sarah Fleming.
The first game of the day meanwhile saw Moycullen claim the Hula Hoops U18 Men’s National Cup after a huge, 68-59 point victory over Belfast Star. A superb third quarter performance from Moycullen and MVP Paul Kelly led them home to victory, despite the shooting prowess of CJ Fulton and Adam Ryan.
"It’s been a long year of preparation but we’ve reached our goal of what we wanted. The lads won Under 14, Under 16 and Under 17 All-Irelands so it’s been gearing up to this," said Moycullen head coach Dylan Cunningham after the game.