Portlaoise Panthers 73 Griffith Templogue 67
Women’s Division 1 National League
Wow, what a game!
These women are always on the go! Just off the back of securing their place in the National Cup final, the Panthers Division 1 National League girls claimed another win and it was spectacular game.
The second half in particular was extremely entertaining and had Panthers fans on the edge of their seats in St Mary’s Hall.
Panthers17 hold their second place position on the Southern Conference table just behind Team Tom McCarthy’s St Mary’s.
The first four points came from Ciara Byrne and her scores were joined by four points from Claire Melia and six points from Trudy Walker.
Panthers ended the first quarter a point behind the visitors but quarter two was theirs, outscoring Templeogue 27-17.
Walker and Byrne joined forces to get Panthers up and running in the quarter while Sarah Fleming dropped the following four points. Melia stepped outside the three point line to then hit the target.
Fleming hit another three for Portlaoise before captain Deirdre Tomlinson hit two free throws in the lead up to half time.
Scores followed from Fleming, Gillian Wheeler, Shauna Burke and Grainne O’Reilly before half time but the drama was only about to begin.
Panther went into the second half with confidence and between the intensity and a loud Panthers crowd, the roof was blown off the hall.
The third quarter saw the home side outscored by 10 points which set us up for a brilliant final quarter. They fought tooth and nail to the very end.
Melia hit seven points in the third quarter while Byrne, Walker, Fleming and Ciara Wheeler made up the remainder of their 14 points. It was point for point from half way through the third quarter and the game became both fast pace and very physical.
The final quarter had the home fans covering their eyes, on the edge of their seats and biting their nails! With a few unlucky fouls called against Portlaoise, they held their form and remained completely composed – a team with great character.
Sarah Fleming hit the first three of the quarter and top scorer, Trudy Walker, added the next eight points. It was a tale of score for score for the entire quarter and the game could have gone in anyone’s favour.
However, in true Panthers style, they pushed on and kept calm throughout. After much pushing, shoving and a few tense minutes, a series of free throws helped the girls to secure the win.
Their next game is the Hula Hoops National Cup final on Sunday, January 25.
SCORERS – Trudy Walker; 21, Sarah Fleming; 16, Claire Melia; 15, Ciara Byrne; 9, Gillian Wheeler; 3, Ciara Wheeler; 3, Shauna Burke; 2, Grainne O’Reilly; 2, Deirdre Tomlinson; 2
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS – Sarah Fleming, Hannah Collins, Ciara Wheeler, Ciara Byrne, Jasmine Burke, Deirdre Tomlinson, Trudy Walker, Grainne O’Reilly, Gillian Wheeler, Shauna Burke, Shauna Dooley, Claire Melia
Portlaoise Panthers 78 Waterford Vikings Tolka Rover 88
Men’s Division 1 National League
Meanwhile, the Men’s Division One team traveled to play Tolka Rovers where they had just six players.
Despite the low numbers, they competed strongly up to the final quarter when the legs gave way and tiredness creeped in causing a few poor decisions.
Trevor Swayne claimed the first three buckets followed by four points from Mantas Vilimas. Dylan Dunne hit a three before Vilimas, Kyle Burke, James Phelan and Sean Condon all found the target to see Panthers ahead at heading into the second quarter.
The pairing of Swayne and Condon helped the visitors to claim the first seven points of the quarter. Vilimas and Burke followed up with baskets.
Despite Tolka Rovers having the lead at half time, five points from Swayne kept Panthers just four points behind at the half time buzzer.
The third quarter saw both sides score 18 points. It was Burke, Vilimas and Condon who racked up the 18 points between them and similar to the Women’s game, it was all to play for in the last 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, the low numbers on the Panthers team added extra pressure on the travelling players and while there was only one player on the bench at any given time, the lack of fresh legs worked against them.
Despite this, Phelan, Dunne, Swayne, Vilimas, Burke and Condon all added to the scoresheet. Panthers finished 10 points behind.
The defeat leaves them ninth on the League table just ahead of Ulster University, McGowans Tolka Rovers and Waterford Vikings.
SCORERS – Mantas Vilimas; 20, Trevor Swayne; 17, Sean Condon; 13, Kyle Burke; 12, Dylan Dunne; 8, James Phelan; 8
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS – Dylan Dunne, Tiernan Dempsey, James Phelan,Trevor Swayne, Mantas Vilimas, Sean Condon, Kyle Burke, Dylan Phelan