UNDER 20 NATIONAL CUP
Tralee Imperials 64 Drimnagh Dynamos 42
THE game started at a hectic pace, which was maintained all through, with Drimnagh hitting seven points without reply inside two minutes.
Imperials were finding it hard all through the first quarter to break down the home defence which hustled and harried all over the court, and it was team captain Maeve Barry who helped steady the ship with five points close to basket. Moloney hit another brace for Drimnagh, before Eilish O Conner replied with two sweet shots from the wing for Tralee. Despite improved play it was Drimnagh who led at the break 15-12.
The second quarter saw Tralee improve intensity on defence, getting out to the shooters and controlling their own boards. Deirdre Kearney thundered into the game at point guard and through her promptings the team started to create better openings, which Barry (eight points) and Fitzgerald (four) fully exploited. In the front court Laura Rogers and Eilish O'Connor (two each) were a constant threat and Tralee outscored Drimnagh to lead at the half 19-26.
Quick baskets from Rogers, Geaney and Barry put Tralee on track on the resumption of play, but within three minutes tragedy struck when Laura Rogers injured her knee and had to be removed from the game. After the stoppage Tralee responded with an even fiercer determination to succeed, most evident in some superb passages of play on defence, restricting their opponents to just seven points in the quarter. Baskets from O'Connor (four points), from the ever improving Deirdre Geaney (six) and three baskets from the free flowing Amy Fitzgerald, extended Imperials half time lead to fifteen – 48-33.
Any idea that the game was over was quickly dispelled within two minutes, when the lead had been whittled down to nine points, through Keach, Moloney and J Sheehan. Nothing dropped for Tralee in those opening minutes as the home side gathered momentum and threatened a comeback, but a time out seemed to have the desired effect.
Clare Brennan was very prominent after the time out, with two superb drives to basket for scores and further baskets from Geaney, Brid O'Connor, Fitzgerald and Barry sealed a great win for the Tralee side. Imperials now advance to meet last season's Under 18 Champions, Brunnell in the quarterfinal. Teams and Scorers Imperials: M Barry 20, E O Connor 10, L Rogers 6, D Geaney 9, A Fitzgerald 12, D Kearney 1, C Brennan 4,BO Connor 2,DO Shea, A Geaney National League THE Senior Ladies return to action at home this weekend, when they play Portlaoise Panthers, at Mounthawk Gym on Saturday night at 7:30pm.
Tralee Imperials are currently unbeaten and will hope to continue this against Portlaoise who have been impressive thus far. It makes for a great night's entertainment and home supporters are assured of another wholehearted display from their ever improving and consistent senior ladies team. Admission is €5.