Unbeaten Maree women prepare for basketball cup final

Maree Basketball Club’s senior women’s side look to land the first piece of silverware of the season on Sunday when they take on Ulster University Elks in the division one cup final at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght (2pm ).

They will go into the game as marginal favourites, having won the league meeting between the sides in October on a 76-68 scoreline, but head coach, Joe Shields, says there will be very little between the sides on Sunday.

“I’m expecting a very good, tight game between the two best sides in division one. There was very little between us when we met in Oranmore back in October, but I know if we play to our potential, we have every chance of winning the cup, which would be a great achievement considering this is our first season in the national league,” Shields says.

Maree go into the game on the back of a 12-game winning run, their latest on Friday night when they recorded a 76-46 win over Limerick Celtics in the league.

That game was over as a contest by the end of the first quarter when Maree held a 31-8 lead, and while Celtics rallied slightly in the second quarter, Maree were always in control and led 42-22 at the break.

They emptied the bench in the second-half, with all 12 players getting valuable time on the court as the side heads into a critical phase of the season. After the cup final weekend, they return to league action with an away game against Portlaoise Panthers, who are just three points behind them in the Southern Conference league table.

Maree women: Carol McCarthy (10 ), Dayna Finn (17 ), Claire Rockall (23 ), Maggie Byrne (12 ), Catherine Connaire (12 ), Orlaith Walsh, Nicola O’Connell, Alison Blaney (8 ), Clodagh McGrail, Laoise Walsh, Sacra Mannion, Fiona Scally (4 ).

Superleague action

There was disappointment for the men’s Superleague side when they fell to a 94-68 defeat to league leaders Templeogue in Dublin on Saturday night.

A good first opening from the visitors saw them trail by just four points (24-20 ), but the home side stepped up the intensity to lead 45-32 at half-time, and showed their class to seal the win in the second half, outscoring Maree 49-36 for the win.

Maree’s next game is a crunch home clash with Swords Thunder, with whom they are level on points, on Saturday week in Calasanctius College.

Maree top scorers : Niels Bunschoten (23 ), Eoin Rockall (19 ), Sean Sellers (12 ).

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