Portlaoise Panthers Ladies put up a huge fight in what was always going to be a tough game for them as the Division 2 side were pitted up against Division 1 newcomers Berkley in the Midland Women’s Cup game in St Mary’s Hall on Thursday night. This was the first meeting ever between the sides.
Berkeley opened the game with an easy basket under the boards followed by an impressive three point shot from the top of the key. Portlaoise tried keeping cool and after the initial nerves began to fade Portlaoise began to drop some easy baskets from Grace Delaney, Leanne Hayes and Dorothy Fahy under the boards. Sharon Regan followed with a great basket on the fast break but the home side’s efforts for this quarter were outdone. Berkeley continued on effortlessly racking up the score leading the quarter 15-8 points.
The second quarter again proved to be very challenging for the home side with Berkeley sprinting ahead. Danielle Keane joined the floor and instantly added her name to the score sheet with her fast break lay-up. Great team work and vision from Keane again saw Regan follow through with a clean cut lay-up. Delaney and Fahy continuously worked hard rebounding with Delaney potting two baskets beneath the boards along with Fahy landing herself on the free throw line. However Portlaoise just didn’t do enough and the confidence was low leaving the first half of the game finishing 34-17
The second half saw Portlaoise come back fighting like a new team. Colohan without delay added an easy basket joining her team mates on the score sheet. Impressive offensive and defensive rebound from Delaney and Anna Fraizer saw both inside players tot up the score for the home side. Berkeley was met consistently with outstanding defence from the home side Regan was continuously a huge threat in this quarter putting severe pressure on the opposition. A three pointer each from the Colohan sister’s saw our home side close the game with very little between both sides, Berkeley leading marginally by one basket 34-32.
Both teams saw red and were fighting fit in the final quarter of this highly competitive game. Portlaoise played great offences opening up space for Hayes and she smoothly landed three superb three pointers in a crucial point of the game. It was neck in neck until the final whistle. Portlaoise fought till the very end with persistent defence, particularly from Regan and Colohan which seen the girls gaining effortless baskets. Great team work all round but narrowly the home team lost out with the final score 48-52.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Donna Colohan, Emma Colohan, Dorothy Fahy, Leanne Hayes, Sharon Regan, Danielle Keane, Niamh Sweeney, Amy Dunphy, Anna Fraiser, Rebecca Kelly, Grace Delaney, Aoife Brennan, Zoe O’Dea, Jane Dowling. Coach: Jack Scully