Report by Mary McGuire
Hula Hoops Senior Women’s National Cup Final
Marble City Hawks: 54
Ulster Rockets: 55
(after overtime – full time 47-47)
Ulster Rockets have taken home their first ever Hula Hoops Senior Women’s National Cup this afternoon, as they held off a soaring Marble City Hawks performance in an overtime thriller at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin.
Ulster Rockets imposed themselves on the game early on but even at that early stage, it was clear to see that the sides were evenly matched with Aine Sheehy proving instrumental for Hawks in the opening quarter to go in 13-11 to the good.
Superb rebounding saw Rockets on the break a lot throughout the second, but a plucky Hawks side forced numerous turnovers and kept the scores ticking through to go in at the break just one down, 20-21.
The clash of styles and grinding play worked in favour of Ulster Rockets as the third quarter got underway. A hard-working Mairead McNally helped put 10 points between the teams, a massive bridge to gap considering the low scoring nature of the game.
Zee Shahid-Martin proved to be key for Rockets in this quarter too, but just as Hawks fans were starting to get anxious, Shelia Sheehy stepped up to net a buzzer-beating jump shot to close the gap to just seven points going into the last.
The last quarter is where is all boiled over though, as Hawks’ Kelly O’Hallahan stepped up yet another gear, grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck and suddenly, there was just one score between the teams. Shahid-Martin responded well at the other end, but Aine Sheehy hit a massive three to close the gap back to two. It was a nail biting couple of minutes as each side tried to get that little bit of breathing room, and with eight seconds on the clock, Kelly O’Hallahan tied the game up from the free throw line (47-47) and it was into overtime.
Aine Sheehy gets the overtime scoring underway well with a nice three-pointer to put Hawks in the lead, but it was to be a short-lived lead as Carlee Lough responded with a superb three pointer and added two cool-headed free throws.
With just seconds on the clock, Aine Sheehy nets an absolutely fantastic three-pointer, but time had ran out and they finished down by one, 54-55 and Ulster Rockets were crowned Hula Hoops Senior Women’s Cup champions.
Marble City Hawks: Philomena Fogarty, Kelly O’Hallahan (19), Katie Fox (7), Shelia Sheehy (6), Ann Prendergast (2), Claire Kelly (6), Nicola Gannon, Maria Connolly, Elizabeth Munnelly (2), Aine Sheehy (12), Niamh Sheehy, Milica Rabat.
Ulster Rockets: Mairead McNally (10), Clara O’Neill (4), Susan Dick (3), Zee Shahid-Martin (17), Carlee Lough (11), Eimhear Morris, Maeve Deery, Alex Troy, Louisa Donnelly, Charley McGrath, Mimi Troy (10), Hannah Byrne, Nichola Rafferty.
Full time: 47-47
MVP: Zee Shahid-Martin (Ulster Rockets)