LIMERICK Celtics are the InsureMyHouse.ie U18 Women’s National Cup champions after a 66-57 win over Liffey Celtics at Neptune Stadium. It is the club’s first ever National Cup title.
Amy Buckley opened the scoring in the game with a little over two minutes gone and it was her Limerick Celtics side who started brightly and duly led 18-8 by the end of the first quarter. Buckley would have 10 points by half-time.
The second quarter belonged to Liffey Celtics, with captain Niamh O’Leary prominent. She racked up 17 points in the opening half, including a late basket just before the buzzer to make it a one point game, as they trailed 26-25.
Emily O’Dwyer put Liffey Celtics in front for the first time shortly after the break, 27-26. An Issey Leahy layup from a fast break helped Limerick Celtics go 34-33 ahead with a little over four minutes to go in the third quarter. They pulled away after this, to lead 50-33 by the end of the quarter.
Liffey Celtics reduced the deficit in the fourth, outscoring their opponents 24-16 in the quarter, but it was Limerick Celtics’ day, winning 66-57. The MVP was awarded to co-captain Issey Leahy, who finished up with 16 points on the day. There were also eye-catching performances from Amy Buckley, who was the team’s top scorer on 18, and Limerick Celtics’ other co-captain Lucy Devoy, who had 14. For Liffey Celtics, Niamh O’Leary ended with a 23 point total, while Emily O’Dwyer had 12 and Niamh Fallon scored 6.
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“It’s our first National Cup final, so it means a lot. A lot of the girls are underage again next year, so hopefully we’ll go again. The girls put in so much work over the year, between training and matches, they really deserve it.”
“I think the intensity on the girls press was the big difference in the second half. Liffey came out, they’re a hard-hitting team, they rebound well and we had to deal with that in the second half, but we managed to get the win.” – Jordan Hehir, Limerick Celtics head coach
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