University of Galway Mystics’ Hazel Finn in action during the National Under 20 Women's Cup final against Limerick Sport Huskies. Photo: INPHO / Ben Brady

Cup success for Mayo woman as University of Galway Mystics take Under 20 title

University of Galway Mystics, with Mayo woman Hazel Finn playing a leading role, claimed the Under 20 Women’s National Cup with a comprehensive 97-48 win over Limerick Sport Huskies at the National Basketball Arena today.

Mystics captain Kara McCleane delivered a polished performance with 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals, which saw her handed the MVP.

All eight of the University of Galway Mystics squad are playing in the Super League and that experience certainly told. McCleane and Finn also played with Ireland at last summer’s FIBA Under 20 Women’s European Championship, and they were influential in sparking a 49-28 half-time lead, with 16 and 12 points respectively by the break.

Limerick Sport Huskies started with an early 4-0 lead thanks to baskets from Sophie Moore and Hannah Cremin before Finn got going, scoring all six of University of Galway Mystics’ opening points to edge them in front 6-5. Abbie Pigott got Limerick Sport Huskies back ahead 7-6, before a 16-point run by Paul O’Brien’s team put them in control and they never looked back as they led 28-12 by the end of the first.

The second quarter followed in the same vein, with Mystics in the ascendancy. A three-point jump shot from Pigott in the fourth minute saw Limerick Sport Huskies reduce the deficit to 11 points, 33-22. But Mystics kept their opponents at arm's length and were 21 points ahead by half-time, 49-28.

The University of Galway Mystics scoring threat was evenly spread throughout the team. Ava McCleane hit two from the three-point line in the third quarter and scored eight points in that period, while Maedhbh O’Brien had seven points and Emma Glavin six to hand them a 79-36 lead going into the final quarter. O’Brien and Emma Glavin would post game totals of 20 and 16 points respectively.

Limerick Sport Huskies kept plugging away, Cremin picked up seven points in the final quarter to bring her to a team high 13, but it was to be University of Galway Mystics’ day.

Head coach Paul O’Brien: “We had six players in double figures. They were fantastic and they have been fantastic all year. The players have been great all year and Super League experience definitely stood to them.

“Huskies are a very, very good team as well. I think that we just had that little bit more physicality from that Super League experience that we’ve had this year. Credit to them for making the final and we’re just delighted to win.”

University of Galway Mystics players celebrate following their victory. Photo: INPHO / Ben Brady

University of Galway Mystics: Hazel Finn (20), Kara McCleane (19), Aoibhinn Walsh, Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Ellie Glavin (12), Ava McCleane, Emma Glavin (16), Maedhbh O’Brien (20)

Limerick Sport Huskies: Hannah Cremin (13), Keira Shyne, Jessica O’Shea (5), Bronagh Dollard, Emilie Hamel, Emma O’Sullivan, Sara Brazil (5), Sophie Moore (10), Niamh Fahy, Abbie Pigott (8).