The home team got a bit of a shock when St. Mary’s, Naas arrived for the game. They were the tallest team of any age group ever to play in OLB, with four of their players taller than any of the Bower team. This would be a challenge.

Naas played a zone defense to use their height to control the airspace around their basket and it proved very effective. Forcing the home team to shoot from outside and denying them any rebounds gave Naas a huge advantage. Scores after the first quarter: Our Lady’s Bower 4, Naas 7.

The second quarter was more of the same resulting in the score at half time being Our Lady’s Bower 12, Naas 17,

Naas were playing on their terms and the Bower struggled but hung on to their coat tails until the final quarter. With 5 still between them it was now or never.

The visitors were in no rush, they wanted to keep their shape and counterattack on the fast break. The Bower had to drastically increase the tempo, give them much less time to make decisions and make them feel the pressure. Full court, man to man, pressure defense is great to watch when it is done well and the Bower girls did it really well. Taking Naas out of their comfort zone, the pressure allowed the home side to get into their running game. The lead was reduced to a single point and with less than 20 seconds on the clock you could have heard a pin drop as Eve Murphy shot the ball from the wing with it going into the basket. The noise of the cheering home supporters went through the roof and did not stop until the final buzzer ended the game. The final score: Our Lady’s Bower 30, St. Mary’s Naas 29.

Our Lady’s Bower Panel: Anna McCourt, Joanna Arrigan, Eve Murphy, Ellen McHugh, Eugenia Fernandez, Eabha McGlynn, Adriana Beruga, Niamh Purtill, Laura Kennedy, Emma Killian, Alyssa Glynn, Ashley Adeniyi, Claire McNamara.


Having won all their pool qualifying games, the Bower side earned themselves a home semifinal.

For a change their old adversaries Scoil Chriost Rí, Portlaoise had not topped their group and had to travel to Athlone for the game. Both teams were nervous starting off with the Bower having the better chances but failing to convert them. Eabha McGlynn, Ellen McHugh and Niamh Purtill provided early scores to settle the home team coming up to the first break. Scores after the first quarter: Our Lady’s Bower 8, SCR Portlaoise 6.

The second quarter took much the same shape as the first with the Bower girls visibly more relaxed and producing some nice plays, with scores from Alyssa Glynn and Eugenia Fernandez the Bower started to pull away. The scores at half time, 16 –10 to OLB.

As is always the case, Portlaoise play very tough, physical full court defense for the entire game. The Bower matched their intensity at both ends of the court and Fernandez and McGlynn scored another 8 points between them. The lead was now 10 points. With the Bower dictating the pace they pushed on with another 6 points from Eugenia Fernandez and the final say went to Anna McCourt, intercepting a Portlaoise pass she took off up the court to get the final score of the day.

The final score, Our Lady’s Bower 31, SCR Portlaoise 19.

Our Lady’s Bower Panel: Anna McCourt, Eabha McGlynn, Niamh Purtill, Laura Kennedy, Joanna Arrigan, Eve Murphy, Ashley Adeniyi, Ellen McHugh, Eugenia Fernandez, Alyssa Glynn and Claire McNamara.