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Cluny click to deny Dalkey in epic


This defeat may have rankled a bit with Dalkey coach Stephen Cahill, but better days are around the corner.

There is a good pool of talent at Loreto and in Gráinne Fitzsimons they have a top-class defender. Gráinne, who is sister of Dublin corner-back Michael, was outstanding as her team managed to shut out Cluny in the third quarter.

Cluny, though, had the will to come back, with crucial three-pointers from Emma Lennon and Sarah Gaynor proving decisive in the end.

Lennon's forward spurts laid the foundations for an early 9-3 lead as she and Gaynor converted a succession of baskets for the Killiney girls.

But with their supporters willing them on at a packed Dalkey Castle, the home side were making progress, particularly through Aoife Cawley.

Still, Cluny edged the first quarter 14-10 and had doubled their lead on the restart with baskets from Nicole Dunne and Lennon to force a time out.

Things got very competitive after that with the influential Fitzsimons getting in a series of steals and blocks. And with Cawley registering successive baskets, Cluny needed a terrific three-pointer off the right side from Gaynor to put some daylight between the teams. The half then came to an exciting close with baskets from Cathy Brock (Dalkey) and Aisling Matthews leaving it 23-17 at the break to Cluny.

However, Dalkey were to dominate the third quarter. Brock was to the fore in the scoring, with Alva Crowley hitting a big three-pointer to put Dalkey ahead with 3:30 on the clock.

And they then showed good temperament when twice going to the line to convert both of their free throws, which were taken by Cawley and Crowley. That left Dalkey 30-29 up and with Cawley and Brock then opening up a seven-point lead they looked to be in a strong position.

However, a big three-pointer coupled with a basket from Lennon helped Cluny turn it around and they were soon 39-37 up.

Aoife Dunne was also having a big game in defence with Lennon converting from the line. Dunne then drew the foul with 15 seconds to go.

Cluny were unable to convert their frees and with Dalkey unsuccessful with two attempts from play in a gripping quarter-final, Cluny held on for a famous victory.

St Joseph of Cluny: Nicole Dunne, Lauren Flanagan, Fiona Craddock, Kim Plenderlieth, Ciara O'Dowd, Emma Lennon (18 pts), Sara Gaynor (11 pts), Aoife Boylan, Aisling Matthews, Ruth Slocoum, Melanie Hogan.

Loreto Dalkey: Aoife Cawley (16pts) , Alva Crowley, Jean Finlay, Grainne Fitzsimons, Cathy Brock (10pts), Mattie Hahanooe, Myrium Uberlaid, Celine McKenna, Aoife Whelan, Aisling Fleming.