St Vincent’s of Cork ran out impressive winners over Mercy Mounthawk. In a game which they controlled from the beginning, Vincent’s saw off ,the challenge of a gallant Mercy side, who just failed to take the title after a barely believable comeback in the final quarter.
For Vincent’s, it is a second title of the season, having secured the U-16 crown at cup level earlier this year. MVP Megan O’Leary was instrumental in securing victory for her side with a fourteen point game, but was run a close second by Mercy’s Clare Brennan, who almost dragged her side to victory in the final stages.
Vincent’s began brightly, opening up an early 5-2 advantage. A huge three pointer from Olivia Dupuy helped Vincent’s further extent the lead. Mercy were struggling to cope with the intensity of the Vincent’s defensive effort, and needed to improve dramatically in offense if they were to reign in Vincent’s 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
To their credit Laura Rogers and Deirdre O’Shea were fashioning opportunities for Mercy. The Kerry side improved their offense considerably in the second quarter, but the Vincent’s axis of Megan O’Leary, Olivia Dupuy and Edel Thornton was wreaking havoc on in the Mercy defence. Dupuy’s nonchalant shooting from range was superb, and her all-action first half display was the key factor in Vincent’s taking an impressive 24-14 lead to half time. Mercy will have been heartened by the manner in which they improved, but needed to be more clinical in the second half if they were to regain parity.
The outset of the second half was a more even affair, with both sides trading scores early on. Megan O‘Leary and Edel Thornton both scored in quick succession as Vincent’s began to exert control once again. Mercy were finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate through Vincent’s defence, and Thornton and O’Leary were punishing them with quick breaks at every available opportunity. The end of the third quarter saw Vincent’s in command with a 38-22 lead.
Clare Brennan and Deirdre O‘Shea scored for Mercy, as the Kerry side desperately sought to get into contention for one final push. Brennan was finally getting the rub of the green as her baskets began to drop, but Mercy still trailed by twelve with five minutes to play. Brennan was her team’s chief threat at this point, but time was against the Kerry side. It was a truly spirited ending from Mercy, who was within four with a minute to play. Incredibly Mercy were within one point in the final moments, and a final breakaway in the final ten seconds almost provided them with the most unlikely of victories, but it was Vincent’s who won out in the end, albeit breathing a huge sigh of relief. Mercy were understandably crestfallen at the end, but played a huge part in this superb encounter. Final score St Vincent’s Cork 42 Mercy Mounthawk 41.