Wildcats one win away from ending 24 year wait for league honours

Wildcats one win away from ending 24 year wait for league honours

The SETU Waterford Wildcats will play in the Champions Trophy final for the first time since the turn of the century in two weeks time.

Coached by Jillian Hayes, standing in for head coach Tommy O'Mahony, the Wildcats were 10 points to the good of the league runners-up, Liffey Celtics, at Leixlip Amenities, with the score at 76-66 by the final buzzer.

"We're absolutely delighted," Hayes said, breathing a sigh of relief when the action came to a close.

"Wildcats haven't been in a final for 15 years at senior level, so it's all to play for and I'm just delighted for all the girls to get that win tonight."


Wildcats started poorly and found it difficult to score in the early minutes of the game. Liffey Celtics took an early 10-point lead and seemed to be well in control of the game at the end of the first quarter.

Hayes noted that "defence was going to win the game for us and that's what we focussed in on."

In the first quarter, the hosts had scored twenty, but that was reduced to half the amount in the second quarter with the scoreboard starting to look a bit more respectable.

After the break, the Waterford side started to take control of the game, outshooting the Celtics in the final two quarters and would hold that ten-point advantage by the final buzzer.


The result marked a first win over the Liffey Celtics all season, having been beaten by the same side twice before in the regular season.

The Wildcats take on Killester in the playoff final in two weeks' time at the National Basketball Arena.

The Dublin side are on course to complete the league double having already won the regular season title, beating the Liffey Celtics in the decider two weeks ago.

"We played Killester a few weeks back...and we got the win. We all know we can beat them again, so it's just head down, do what we did tonight - we did a great defensive job where everyone contributed to the game and that's how you beat them."

The last time the Wildcats played in a final was the Cup final of 2009, a game they lost to Glanmire, while the last league title won the Wildcats was in 1999 as the club's decade of dominance came to an end, making way for the likes of DCU, Glanmire and others.

With an American player in Jade Compton who is ripping up trees every week - scoring 19 in Saturday's semi - as well as players like Kate Hickey and Alarie Mayze who both shot 17 against Liffey - the Wildcats have every chance of beating Killester again, but this time in a game of huge consequence.

They will need all the experience they have in the squad to get over the line, and if they do, a 24 year wait may well come to an end.