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Highs and lows for Ulster Rockets in bittersweet weekend

Tony McGee

IT was a bitter sweet weekend for Ulster Rockets as within 24 hours they experienced elation and deflation.

A Women’s National Cup victory over Longford Falcons was followed the next day by a National League Division One defeat by visiting Fr Matthews from Cork.

Rockets agreed to play the postponed cup game against Longford on Friday night and stormed through, winning 74-37 to book a home quarter-final with Tralee next Saturday.

The league battle with the Leesiders was different. Rockets totally blasted Longford in the last quarter but they were on the receiving end against Fr Matthews when tiredness crept in.

Rockets hit the front early on against Longford and eased away to a comfortable victory, but the league game was a different story.

Turnovers were a feature of the game as Rockets suffered 25 to the visitors’ 12, a costly margin of error. As well, the winners hit 66 per cent from the floor while the losers managed only 46 per cent.

Even with foul trouble, Rockets managed to edge to a 17-15 lead after the opening period but, afters Kellie Cahalane added two three-pointers to her one before the short break and Carolyn O’Mahoney popped in another, the visitors were 42-33 ahead at half-time.

Rockets recovered brilliantly to win the third quarter 17-12. Ciara O’Neill hit a ‘big three’ early, while Emma O’Connor, whose defensive boarding matched the big Cork girls, rifled in another three-pointer and Anna Maguire landed a super ‘three’ from the sideline on the buzzer to narrow the gap to 54-50.

However, Fr Matthews opened out the gap again, raining in set-shots and lay-ups off the backboard to win 79-68.

Dearbhla Breen really hurt Rockets with 21 points and Fiona Lynch got 14 points. 

Emma O’Connor top scored for Rockets on 22 while Ciara O’Neill made 15.

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