The InsureMyHouse.ie Paudie O’Connor Cup final pits two teams of varying National Cup pedigrees against one another this weekend.
Trinity Meteors haven’t lifted the trophy since 1996, but on the back of some very strong off-season recruitment in the form of Irish international Claire Melia and American centre Celena Taborn, head coach Niall Berry appears to have found the perfect formula. The Dublin side have defeated both of last season’s finalists, The Address UCC Glanmire and DCU Mercy to reach this stage, giving fans confidence that a 27-year drought might come to an end. Melia is playing in her second final in succession, having taken home MVP honours with The Address UCC Glanmire a year ago. Averaging 15-points per game in the competition to date, she is very wary of the threat posed by opponents Killester: “They’ve great shooters, Mimi (Michelle Clarke) and Jenna Howe, they’ve very good post players and their Americans are brilliant and bring a lot of energy. It’ll be a very tough game, we played them the third game of the season and we’ve just gotten close as a team since then, so really looking forward to seeing how we can put it all together on Sunday.”
Conversely, Killester are no strangers to National Cup glory. Mark Grennell’s side returned to Clontarf with silverware as recently as the 2019/20 season, but have dealt with a high turnover of players in the aftermath. They’ve made an experienced roster count during their run to the final, accounting for a youthful University of Galway Mystics and Waterford Wildcats in earlier rounds. Irish international Michelle Clarke can draw from positive memories of their last trip to the National Cup decider, but she isn’t drawing too many comparisons between the 2019/20 side and the current Killester team: “They’re very different teams. We’ve lost so many key players from that year, but the girls have really stepped up so far this season and this is just another challenge we’re looking forward to. It should be a really good battle. Two good teams and each one presents a very difficult matchup for the other, so it should lend itself to a really enjoyable game on the court,” said Clarke.
InsureMyHouse.ie National Cup Final Fixtures
Saturday, January 21st
InsureMyHouse.ie National Intermediate Cup Competition Women’s Final
1000| Glanmire BC v Liffey Celtics
InsureMyHouse.ie U20 Women’s National Cup Final
1215| University of Galway Mystics v Limerick Sport Huskies
InsureMyHouse.ie Women’s Division 1 National Cup Final
1645| Phoenix Rockets v Abbey Seals Dublin Lions
Sunday, January 22nd
InsureMyHouse.ie U18 Women’s National Cup Final
1430| Singleton SuperValu Brunell v Meteors
InsureMyHouse.ie Paudie O’Connor Cup Final
1730| Trinity Meteors v Killester (LIVE ON TG4 – Coverage starts at 1725)