20 May 2022

Kildare MVP Claire Melia stars as UCC complete incredible final comeback

MVP Claire Melia stars as UCC complete incredible final comeback

23 January 2022; Claire Melia of The Address UCC Glanmire in action against Bailey Greenberg of DCU Mercy during the Paudie O'Connor National Cup Final

Former Portlaoise star Claire Melia led The Address UCC Glanmire to an eighth Paudie O’Connor Cup title last night in the National Basketball Arena. The dominant center, from Monasterevin, racked up 21 points as the Cork team produced a comeback for the ages against a DCU Mercy side who led by 14 points early in the fourth quarter. Melia's performance was rewarded as she was given match MVP for her heroics. The best of those 21 points came at just the right time as the shot clock was about to strike zero, Melia sank a three-pointer from way downtown to bring the sides level at 60 points each with just a minutes to go. The UCC crowd erupted as they felt the momentum shift in their favour. 

Melia wasn't done there and produced a crucial steal to set up her UCC teammate and captain Áine McKenna who dispatched a three-pointer of her own. The Cork women closed out the victory to break DCU hearts who must have felt like this was a game and title they let slip from their grasp. 

Melia's basketball career has had many twists and turns in the last few years, after returning home from her US scholarship early due to homesickness. She now studies early childhood care in Carlow IT, which has presented it's own problems with the 22 year old having to make four-hour round trips to Cork for training. But that sacrifice and endeavour will all feel worth it now this title has been secured. 

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