The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman Award for January: Gráinne Dwyer (Basketball)
Team Montenotte Glanmire star was MVP in National Cup final
Gráinne Dwyer of Team Montenotte Hotel in action in the National Cup final. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
A year ago Gráinne Dwyer made our choice for the January sportswoman of the month an easy one after her MVP-winning performance in the National Cup final for Team Montenotte, Glanmire against the reigning champions, University of Limerick’s Huskies.
Twelve months on and she’s done it again, MVP once more for her display against Pyrobel Killester in the final at the National Arena, more than enough to give her her second January award running.
While the 2014 final was an epic affair, going in to overtime after the teams were tied at 85-85, the 2015 game was less pleasing on the eye, but having led by just a point at the break against Killester, making their first Cup final appearance in nine years, Team Montenotte pulled away. They were 45-32 entering the final quarter, winning comfortably in the end - 62-36.
Dwyer, along with her sister Niamh and Marie Breen, a former sportswoman of the month winner, combined to find the points that helped Montenotte ease to victory, Gráinne earning special praise from coach Mark Scannell. “Once we got ahead of them they fell away and I must say when nothing was happening she came up with crucial baskets that finally ended any chance of us losing.”
Apart from top-scoring in the game with 20 points, Dwyer also helped blunt the threat of Killester’s American star Robin Murphy, a former division one college player from Iowa, so whether in defence or attack she made her presence felt.
In the end she drove her team to their fifth National Cup victory, her second MVP award in a row - and, of course, her second Sportswoman of the Month for January gong.