It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Kilkenny basketball as Marble City Hawks and Team Kilkenny basketball teams took to the courts of Co. Cork for the Hula Hoops National Cup semi-finals.
Marble City Hawks made history on Saturday afternoon as they secured a spot in their first ever Hula Hoops Senior Women’s National Cup final when they overcame Dublin’s Oblate Dynamos in Parochial Hall by 20 points (64-44). The quality of senior women’s basketball exploded in the opening quarter as New Zealand-born Kelly O’Hallahan and Katie Fox of Hawks combined to race into a nine-point lead. O’Hallahan ran a high-tempo game, while Elizabeth Munnelly, Aine Sheehy and Ann Prendergast made good plays, as they kept Oblate Dynamos to just seven points in the first (23-7).
The second quarter was a slow burner and though Dynamos dug deep, the double team display from Katie Fox and O’Hallahan, along with an in-form Prendergast, had them in front by 17 at half-time (38-21). Fox and Sheehy continued to execute from beyond the arc in the third to give the Hawks a 20-point lead and they also stood firm defensively to enter the fourth quarter 54-33 to the good. Despite a battle from Dynamos in the last, Marble City Hawks were on route to scripting history and secured a place in their first Hula Hoops Senior Women’s National Cup final where they will face Ulster Rockets.
Speaking after his side’s victory, Head Coach Julian O’Keeffe believes they won’t shy away from the biggest stage of all.
“It’s absolutely fantastic! We only started up 18 months ago and to think now we’re in a National Cup final is unbelievable! The girls deserve it and we’re looking forward to it now – bring it on!”
Marble City Hawks will play Ulster Rockets in the Hula Hoops National Cup final in the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght, in Session 4 on Sunday, January 29th at 2.30pm.
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for men’s side Team Kilkenny on Saturday afternoon in Cork’s Neptune Stadium, as they bowed out to Ej Sligo All-Stars in the semi-final of the Hula Hoops President’s Cup, 85-63.
Irish Under 18 international star Oisin O’Reilly was the difference for Sligo as he stormed to the basket for 27 points on the night, with team mate Kaylim Noel adding 26. A hugely impressive Matt Van Pelt for Kilkenny bagged some superb jump shots and netted 26 points in total for his side and though James Butler was on form too and worked hard around the key and inside to put up 15 points for Kilkenny, it just wasn’t to be on the day as Sligo had the edge, 85-63.
TEAMS AND SCORERS:
MARBLE CITY HAWKS: Philomena Fogarty, Kelly O’Hallahan (13), Katie Fox (25), Ann Prendergast. Subs: Aine Sheehy (7), Claire Kelly, Nicola Gannon, Maria Connolly, Elizabeth Munnelly, Aine Sheehy, Milica Rabat, Leah O’Keeffe.
Top scorers Marble City Hawks: Katie Fox 25, Kelly O Hallahan 13, Aine Sheehy 7
Top scorers Oblate Dynamos: Meagan Hoffman 17, Katie Black 9, Heather Meagher 6
Half time score: Marble City Hawks 38 Oblate Dynamos 21
TEAMS AND SCORERS:
EJ Sligo All-Stars: Ronan McGarrity, Tobi Brockmann (10), Oisin O Reilly (27), Kaylim Noel (26), Philip Hamilton. Subs: Julian Jarmolowicz, Mark Chambers, Luke McLoughlin, Lee Sherlock, Conor Byrne, Emmet Keogh.
Team Kilkenny: James Butler (15), Jack Murphy, Matt Van Pelt (26), Paul Leigh, Padraig Morrissey. Subs: Lughaidh O’Neill, Ryan Pepper, Julian O’Keeffe, Aaron Fennell (8).
GAME AT A GLANCE:
EJ Sligo All-Stars 85-63 Team Kilkenny
Top scorers Ej Sligo All-Stars: Oisin O’Reilly 27, Kaylim Noel 26, Tobi Brockmann 10
Top scorers Team Kilkenny: Matt Van Pelt 26, James Butler 15, Aaron Fennell 8
Half time score: Ej Sligo All-Stars 41-30 Team Kilkenny