Muckno Lakers 57
East Cavan Eagles 53
Last season, Muckno Lakers were averaging 58 points a game over Eagles but just before Christmas the girls cut that deficit by a whopping 54 points. These are the top two Senior women’s teams in our region and it was their first meeting of the season. The previous weekend Muckno were dispatching Cork side Brunell as they defended their Intermediate Cup title and progress to the semi finals in January. But for a few hardy souls, the north east support must have presumed this would be a one sided event and stayed away, but how wrong they were.
Both sides saw changes to their rosters from last season with Eagles listed 5 under 18 players and two 1st year college goers and while Muckno were down a couple of key players they still had 12 lined out. Even though inexperience can be a challenge at this level, we mustn’t forget that all but one of these girls lined out at an U18 Cup semi final against Glanmire two years ago, no challenge is too big.
Starts and finishes are key to these games and Muckno started well but Eagles kept in touch throughout the opening quarter with Chloe Mc Elhinney hitting 8 of their 14 points and with Ciara & Caitlin Brady & Ailisia Mc Enroe stepping up, Eagles now have spome strength and depth. Eagles found themselves behind by 7 at the end of the period but they regrouped in the second quarter and out scored Muckno with points from Ciara Brady, Aislinn Grealy and a second three of the game for Caitlin Brady to only trail 35 – 31 at half time buzzer.
Eagles knew how dangerous Muckno could be in the third quarter but the girls once again stepped up to the mark and stopped Muckno’s threat to finish the period 43 – 39. During the period luck seemed to be running out as Muckno pushed out to a 9 point lead but the girls once again adapted to reel the Lakers in. Excellent defensive work by Leah Flynn & Chloe Mc Elhinney made things difficult for the Lakers to find scores and with Ciara Brady keeping the Eagles scores dropping in, their hopes of a result were kept alive.
The final quarter didn’t disappoint either as the Eagles put it up to Muckno and battled on every inch of the court. The belief that anything is possible and their will to achieve drives the girls and even though they have the wherewithal to succeed, on this occasion tired limbs and the occasional lapse left the Lakers no ‘7’ Sorkauskaite open for two late 3’s to deny an upset. Ciara Brady who finished with 18 pts, Chiara Salomone getting on the scoreboard and another 3 from Caitlin Brady saw a 14 point quarter. While the girls were elated with their game, the disappointment on not to having come away with a result will push them to correct the errors and look forward to their next meeting in the New Year.
Finally, Eagles Ladies hope all their support, club members and families had a Very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing you all in 2017