Despite the heroic efforts of our hardworking girls, the much anticipated battle between Skibbereen Community School and high flyers St. Angelas ended in a 36 to 32 point defeat for our side.
While we knew the formidable challenge that we faced, this was a game we should have won. When you keep a talented side like St. Angelas to 36 points, you know you have done an excellent job in defence and our girls are all tenacious defenders who have a Tomás O'Mahony - like work rate. Before tip off, the talk on everyone's lips was how we were going to curb the Daire Dignan threat and indeed her beautifully taken 3 pointer was the opening score of the game. The promise of more to come was the focus of our attention from the off and our girls stepped up to the challenge confining her to a mere nine points.
However, our side was slow to get our offence firing. Our motion offence allowed us exquisite opportunities for easy scores but we squandered them time and time again. It takes time to get used to strange boards. Under the relentless Angela's pressure, our passing was often weak and indecisive. You can get away with this against a weak side but we paid a heavy price for our carelessness here. Angelas extended their lead and early in the third quarter, the Skib girls faced a deficit of 16 points.
But these girls never know when they are beaten. In the middle of the third quarter, Lia Hogan emerged as the real leader on the court. She took the game by the scruff of the neck and threw everything she had at the city side. Her tenacious defence and stunning drives had a dramatic effect on the game and St Angelas comfortable lead crumbled fast. The Skib side were within touching distance of completing a fairy tale comeback but just failed to get over the line. Apart from Lia's magnificent 16 points, Aine MacCarthy took full value from the read and react system and contributed 12 points of her own.
Maria, Mollaidh and Ellie played excellent roles in defence and were the main girls responsible for keeping Angela's scores to a minimum. But Eabha Lucey and Niamh Connolly played strong defensive roles too. These girls have come on in leaps and bounds under the positive influence of their wonderful club coaches Dave Quinn and Pat Dwyer..
As a result of this defeat, we now face Scoil Mhuire from Blarney on Wednesday on our home court. We face into this battle without our talented point guard Ellie O'Donovan and there is no doubt she is a huge loss to our side. This is a must win game to get through to the All Ireland series.
It's not how many times you get knocked down that counts, it's how many times you get back up that determines the character of our players. These girls have spirit, character and enthusiasm coursing through them and we have every reason to be hopeful.