Historic first final for Liffey Celtics

by Karl Graham
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COURTYARD Liffey Celtics are gunning for their first Hula Hoops Women’s National Cup this Sunday when they take to the court against current holders Ambassador UCC Glanmire at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.
Celtics reached this stage after an impressive 83-72 win over DCU Mercy in the semi-final, while their Cork opponents, who have won the cup for the last three years, got this far after easily dispatching fellow Corkonians Singleton SuperValu Brunell 84-47.
“It is going to be a great occasion for the club,” Celtics head coach Mark Byrne told GazetteSport. “It is our first cup final but it is right where we want to be in terms of being able to challenge for silverware.
“We are under no illusions with Glanmire going for four in a row so in a lot of people’s eyes we are underdogs. But we have good confidence in ourselves and we’ll focus on what we need to focus on.”
Celtics already made club history when they reached the semi-final stage but they now have the chance to ink themselves permanently into the history books of Irish basketball.
“In one way, we are trying not to think about the trophy; we are trying to just concentrate on the game itself. We’ve had a really close league game against them in Cork already this season so I think that gave us a lot of confidence that we are there or thereabouts with them,” said Byrne.
Glanmire go into the final having suffered their first defeat of the season against Maxol WIT Wildcats last weekend but Byrne thinks that result could easily work against them as it could for them.
“It could actually spur them on because they are very competitive. You don’t win three [cups] in a row and not know how to deal with losing a game.
“Either way, I think the chances are it will be a close game, whether it’s high scoring or low scoring. They have a lot of firepower but, equally when we have everybody on song, we have a lot of firepower. They can play very high tempo games so one of the things we will need to guard against is letting them dominate the tempo.”
Celtics themselves go into the game on a high after getting the better of DCU again in the Women’s Super League last weekend.
“That was huge for us because we have had a number of injuries going back to December. To beat DCU without one of our Americans was a super performance.”

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