National League

Mar 23 2024

Pyrobel Killester defeat FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 to end 44 year wait for Super League title

Pyrobel Killester are the Super League champions, defeating FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 in the Playoff Final at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday, to claim their first women’s Super League title since 1979/80.

 A general view of the National Basketball Arena ahead of the evening's game

The sides were forced into a one-off playoff, after both finished with equal 17-3 records at the end of the regular season. Killester made a fast start in the Playoff Final and never really looked back. MVP Ieva Bagdanaviciene picked up 11 points in the opening quarter, as the Dublin club opened up an 23-12 lead. FloMAX Liffey Celtics closed that gap, helped by Alexandra Navarette’s three along to way, to trail 23-17 by the end of the first. 

 Alexandra Navarette of FloMAX Liffey Celtics

But Killester raced out of the blocks in the second quarter, and captain Michelle Clarke’s three from the corner just before the midpoint had them 36-19 to the good. A Sorcha Tiernan fast-break and layup, followed by a pair of Navarette free throws got FloMax Liffey Celtics up and running. However a Bagdanaviciene three from the corner followed - which brought her tally to 17 at that stage - and Killester were 39-23 up with three and a half minutes to go in the quarter. The Lithuanian would finish with 26 points.

A long range three by Tiernan, from midway between the halfcourt and three point line, with a little over 30 seconds to go in the second quarter saw Liffey Celtics trail 43-32, but Claire Melia had the last say, her layup helping Killester to a 45-32 half-time lead. 

 Ireland international Sorcha Tiernan (FloMAX Liffey Celtics) against fellow Ireland international Michelle Clarke (Pyrobel Killester)

Melia opened the third quarter with a layup and a two point jump shot, Killester appeared to have a firm grip on proceedings, 49-32 up. They had a 25 point lead, 63-38, with a little over two minutes to go in the third, following Michelle Clarke’s effort from the three point line, another Melia layup and Bagdanaviciene’s basket. Killester would be 69-46 ahead by the end of the quarter.

 Pyrobel Killester player and Ireland international Claire Melia

Killester, who won the Paudie O’Connor Cup last season, didn’t allow FloMAX Liffey Celtics back into it in the fourth, Bagdanaviciene’s layup had Killester 80-56 up with a little over four minutes to go and Mark Grennell’s side closed the game out, for a 90-62 success.

Killester captain, Michelle Clarke, said: “It’s huge, that was my aunty (Breda Dick) presenting the trophy to me, the last time Killester won it was her and her sisters. 44 years in the making, I have played in Super League for long enough and it’s my first one, it doesn’t come around often enough, but it means so much, I am so thrilled to do it with this group as well.”

 Pyrobel Killester captain Michelle Clarke

She added: “It was a great game, I am sure that Liffey will feel they could have done more in that game. We’re really proud of that performance, we didn’t really slip up too much to give them an opportunity to get back into it, we’ll definitely celebrate this one and get back to things on Tuesday.”


Pyrobel Killester 90–62 FloMAX Liffey Celtics   


Quarter Scores: Q1: 23-17, Q2: 45-32, Q3: 69-46, Q4: 90-62


Pyrobel Killester:

Michelle Clarke, Ali Connolly, Rebecca Nagle, Sarah Courtney, Bree Shelley, Leilani Turner, Robyn Malone, Ieva Bagdanaviciene, Mimi Troy, Claire Melia, Jiselle Thomas, Keowa Walters

Head Coach: Mark Grennell

Top Scorers: Ieva Bagdanaviciene 26, Michelle Clarke 19, Jiselle Thomas 15, Claire Melia 14, Keowa Walters 10 


FloMAX Liffey Celtics:

Tianna Ayulo, Kelly Bracken, Kate O’Flaherty, Niamh Sherlock, Rachel Huijsdens, Mya Pardy, Katie O’Sullivan, Clara Boyce, Sorcha Tiernan, Georgia Munnelly, Alexandra Navarette, Áine O’Connor

Head Coach: Karl Kilbride

Top Scorers: Alexandra Navarette 20, Sorcha Tiernan 17, Tianna Ayulo 10, Áine O’Connor 6, Katie O’Sullivan 5

Results Super League Playoff Final

Saturday, 23rd January

Pyrobel Killester 90-62 FloMAX Liffey Celtics

- Champions Trophy Playoff quarter-finals

Saturday 23rd March

SETU Waterford Wildcats 87-77 Catalyst Fr. Mathews, Mercy School, 5pm

Sunday 24th March

Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell v The Address UCC Glanmire, Gurranabraher Credit Union Parochial Hall, 2.45pm 

- Super League Playoff quarter-finals

Saturday 23rd March

Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU 70-83 Killester

Maree BC 104-84 EJ Sligo All-Stars

Griffith College Éanna 82-81 Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, 7pm, Coláiste Éanna

Sunday 24th March

Belfast Star v UCC Demons, 4pm, De La Salle

- Division One Playoff quarter-finals

Saturday 23rd March

UCD Marian 96-81 Scotts Lakers Killarney, 7pm Oatlands College

SETU Carlow 101-95 Drogheda Wolves

Limerick Cetlics 100-101 Moy Tolka Rovers, 7pm, Cresent College

Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers 78-80 Limerick Sport Eagles, 7.30pm, St. Mary’s Hall

- Division One League Trophy quarter-finals

Saturday 23rd March

Templeogue 60-69 Limerick Sport Huskies