Midland Champs

The Midlands 1st year A, regional basketball final took place in Portlaoise on Friday, 22nd March. Our Lady’s Bower, having seen off Presentation College, Kilkenny in the semi-final, were looking forward to the chance to claim the trophy. The two teams had already played each other in the league, with the Bower just shading that encounter by 6 points.

The Bower got a spectacular start with the tip off from Georgia Munnelly going straight to Jillian Begley and straight into the basket. Portlaoise hit back with a quick score of their own, followed by another. The first quarter finished with very little between them, Portlaoise leading 12 to 6.

A new five players for each team in the second quarter and the Bower settled well, chipping away at the Portlaoise lead, the ever accurate Kenzi Francis closing the gap to 2 points.

Scores at half time, Portlaoise 12, Our Lady’s Bower 10.

A single basket between them and all to play for, both teamS took the floor with grim determination and fourteen minutes left to decide the destination of the cup.

Portlaoise struck straight away with a quick score and the Bower hit back with another. The Bower defence pushed up a little and Portlaoise turned over the ball to lightning quick Jillian Begley and she sped down the court to finish her lay-up. The Bower put a string of scores together in a very composed spell of play to push them out in front by 9. At this stage Portlaoise still looked like they could get back into the game at any second. They went to their full court defence, to stop the flow of ball to the Bower forwards but the Bower guards had found a way through to open the passing lanes to Jessica Frawley and Lydia Mulvihill.

The Bower really turned it on for the last seven minutes of the game, with quick defence, great lines of running and inch perfect passing, they pulled away to finish the game well in front 51 points to 31

Our Lady’s Bower now go forward as Midland champions, to the All-Ireland play offs, held in the University of Limerick on May 11th and 12th

Bower squad: Jillian Begley, Sarah McNamara, Anna-Mai Bouker, Martha McSharry, Georgia Munnelly, Kenzi Francis, Amy McGovern, Jessica Frawley, Portia Quaye & Lydia Mulvihill.

Match report – Coach Des Reilly