Laois Basketball Scene
MABB Cup Finals –
Ladies final: Clonaslee v Portlaoise
As expected there was a fast-paced and high-energy start to the Ladies Cup final with the fantastic support present for both teams making themselves heard in Clonaslee’s Community Centre. The home team dominated the opening quarter with powerful rebounding inside the centre by Yvonne Comerford and Antoinette Corbet. Clonaslee demonstrated great team support and movement on offence and off the ball, allowing point guard Niamh McEnhill a path inside for layups.
The intensity continued into the second quarter, Roisin Poole and Karen Brady of Clonaslee working hard to set up players for shots. Portlaoise’s fouls mounted up allowing Clonaslee to rack up their points tally in free throws. Great movement on the inside by Rebecca Kelly for Portlaoise, bringing up their score to 24. The game continued as it started, concluding on the tight scoreline of 26 to Clonaslee’s 28.
The Panthers set the tone for the third quarter setting up some good offensive attacks but were denied by a strong Clonaslee defence. A well taken 3 pointer by Emma Colohan gave Portlaoise the boost they needed and only one point stood between the two teams. Clonaslee responded well with two brilliant baskets taken by Yvonne Comerford. Quick passing and clever thinking on the ball by both teams made it a nail biting game of cat and mouse! Every ball was contested and dived on, neither team letting up at any stage. Portlaoise got themselves into foul trouble allowing Antoinette Corbett of Clonaslee to further the gap 38 to 31. A 3 point shot by Dorothy Fahy ensured Portlaoise were never too far behind. Gráinne Thomlinson replied instantly to Lucy Feighery’s basket to wrap up a 2 point advantage to Clonaslee. (40-38)
Niamh McEnhill took control of the final quarter widening the gap and beating Portlaoise defense with cuts to the basket and accurate shooting. Portlaoise upped the intensity and Roisin O’Connell hit back with a quick 4 points for Portlaoise. There was excellent defensive play evident from both sides, neither giving the ball away for free. The game continued into the fourth quarter with the same intensity and speed as when it began. The scoreboard kept ticking over with a superb 3 pointer from Roisin O Connell and an immediate response from Heather Conroy!
Both team’s upped the ante and tension was rife in the final minutes. Clonaslee coach Martin McGettrick called a time-out with 24 seconds remaining and only one point between the two sides. Nicki Kelly’s shot was blocked by Niamh McEnhill, denying Portlaoise the lead. The supporters cheers filled the hall urging both teams onto victory! Portlaoise fouled on Niamh McEnhill and she scored both free shots effortlessly. Nicki Kelly scores one free shot after Clonaslee conceded a foul. The last two free shots of the game secured a Clonaslee win and cemented them as winners of the Midlands Cup final, beating Portlaoise on a tight scoreline of 48-52. Both teams will meet again in the League. Going by this match, it’s definitely one not to miss!
MVP: Niamh McEnhill
Portlaoise team: Nicki Kelly (Capt.), Gráinne Tomlinson (Vice Capt.), Dorothy Fahy, Orla Donovan, Lorraine McCormack, Róisin O’Connell, Gillian Hannigan, Michelle Harte, Emma Colohan.
Coach: Jack Scully
Clonaslee team: Gráinne Fenlon (Capt.), Yvonne Comerford (Vice Capt.), Niamh McEnhill, Róisin Poole, Heather Conroy, Antoinette Corbet, Lucy Feighery, Niamh Conroy, Gerdaline Foynes, Kate Conroy, Karen Brady, Laura Hogan, Grace Digan, Ann Marie Sullivan, Mary Bridget Enneguess.
Coach: Martin McGettrick
Asst Coach: Becky Dunne
Men’s final: Kestrels v O’Leighlin
The men’s final was hotly contested from the throw in. Cian Corcoran notched up points for Old Leighlin with great offensive passes and sharing the ball by Kestrels. Aaron Whelan contributing to Kestrels 14 points. Both teams were evenly matched and tied after the first quarter (14-14). Ed Reddick notched up 4 points for Kestrels and denied Old Leighlin a quick reply with some excellent defence. First quarter was close and not at the intensity that you would have expected. Conor Foster was running the Kestrels offensive really well and was finding open players throughout the game.
In the second quarter, Kestrels held Old Leighlin to only eight points by taking easy lay ups and second chance points. Kestrels upped the intensity and offensive execution and scored some easy baskets by attacking the interior of the Old Leghlin defence and kicking it out for open looks at the baskets which the Kestrels players converted. Top scorer, Aaron Whelan polished off 2 fast breaks notching up Kestrels tally to 19 versus Old Leighlin’s 14.
Old Leighlin came out all guns blazing in the third quarter, and after 6 minutes they were trailing Kestrels by only 7 points. Old Leighlin scored five threes in the third quarter and narrowed the lead considerably. A comeback looked on but some excellent rebounding under the board from Kestrels, furthering their lead. Gediminas Simkus furthered the lead with a well taken rebound and cut back.
An excellent defensive and rebounding effort displayed by Dan Debosz who also made his mark on offence, knocking up rebounds for Kestrels. Some Impressive 3 pointers for Seamus Kinsella gave Old Leighlin a slim chance while baskets from Greg Dunne and Ed Reddick stretched the lead out and allowed Kestrels coach, John Fennelly the opportunity to run his bench. Ed Reddick was a dominant presence for Kestrels under the basket and he was awarded MVP. A fantastic offensive display and movement of the ball for Kestrels allowed them to pull away with from Old Leighlin and winning the game 65-53.
MVP: Ed Reddick
Old Leighlin team: Mickey Bambrick, Hugh Gahan, Brendan Kinsella, Michael Meaney, Hugh Carpenter, Seamas Kinsella, Conor Nolan, Thomas Lynch, Tom Brophy, Michael Darcy, Janis Tumovs, Martin Lynch.
Coach: Martin Lynch
Kestrels team: Conor Foster (Capt.), John Fennelly, Liam Guinan, Aaron Whelan, Daithi Howlin, Cian Corcoran, Matt Geoghegan, Glen Mitchell, Sean Smith, Dan Debosz, Gediminas Simkus, Anthony Dunne, Ed Riddick, Greg Dunne, Donal Dunne
Coach: John Fennelly
Asst. Coach: Michael Malone