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O’Driscoll class denies spirited Drimnagh

All-Ireland basketball U19 A Girls Cup: Mercy Heights Skibbereen 63, Our Lady of Mercy Drimnagh 55

THE Oblate Hall never looked better as Gerry Farrell’s Drimnagh girls produced a spirited display against Skibbereen in Inchicore yesterday.

Seen by many as the traditional home of basketball in Dublin, the court has recently been sanded and this weekend the local Superleague team take on Liffey Celtics in the big south Dublin derby.

With no transition year, the odds were always going to be stacked against Drimnagh, with Skibbereen’s physical presence a big factor in this game.

Drimnagh found it difficult at times to get the breaks inside, but two terrific three-pointers from the side court by Katie Maloney turned this game on its head with three minutes and 30 seconds left on the clock.

And when Alison Keech made a three-point play soon after to put just two points between the teams, Skibbereen looked to be on the ropes.

The West Cork girls, however, showed their character as they rattled off a series of free throws to edge it.

Mairéad O’Driscoll was the outstanding performer on the day, the 2010 Irish underage international running the show from the base of the court.

Initially it had taken Skibbereen a while to get going with a three-point jump shot from Maloney opening a six-point lead for the home side.

Skibbereen, however, slowly got themselves back into the contention with a succession of free throws from O’Driscoll leaving just four between the teams, 19-15, at the end of the quarter to Drimnagh.

Succession

Jenny Sheehan hit a purple patch (she rattled off seven points in quick succession heading down the stretch) in the second quarter, but Gillian Coombes made a basket with five seconds to go to leave it all square, 33-33, at the interval.

However, with Skibbereen employing a zone defence to good effect after the break, scores became hard to come by for Drimnagh.

Grainne McCarthy was proving particularly lethal from the outside as Skibbereen moved 49-40 in front heading into the last quarter.

They had extended that gap to 13 points with six minutes 24 seconds to go but, as Keech began to make an impact, Drimnagh’s fortunes changed with Maloney hitting two terrific three-pointers. Alas, it wasn’t to be for Drimnagh.

Mercy Heights Skibbereen: Mairead O’Driscoll (16pts), Niamh O’Sullivan, Hannah McEoin, Grainne O’Sullivan, Grainne McCarthy (16pts), Aideen Connolly, Gillian Coombes, Michelle Collins, Alice O’ Driscoll (9pts).

Our Lady of Mercy Drimnagh: Jenny Sheehan (14pts), Shauna Gannon, Jenny Doyle, Shauna Buchannan, Katie Maloney (11pts), Shannon Farrell, Alison Keech (19pts), Shannon Keech, Ingrid Gaffney, Laura Walker, Kerry Doran.