It was a year to remember for the NUIG Mystics team as they finished the year with a league and cup double as they return to the Women’s Super league after two years in division one. It was a typically dominant display from the Mystics in the play-off final as they emerged 76-57 point winners over Ulster University thanks to some exceptional scoring from Hazel Finn and Sarah Messler.
The play-off final was an example of what this Mystics team have been doing fantastically all season. They kept Ulster University scoreless of long stretches and were able to spread the scoring throughout the team and were not reliant on any one scorer. It was a gameplan that Ulster were unable to cope with and led to NUIG being able to control every aspect of the game from the first whistle. The lack of a focal point may prove to be a problem against tougher opposition next year, but it is what gave the Mystics their edge this year as they comfortably won promotion back to the Super league.
The year started off strong for the Galway side as they only lost one of their opening ten games, with double digit victories in all but one of these games. The Mystics showed that they were a class apart all season with several players such as Hazel Finn looking like future Ireland internationals. It is a young team whose outstanding defence will stand to team next year against some tougher opposition. Young coach Paul O’Brien will also look to keep his disciplined side up next year as they will be the only side from the west of Ireland competing in the Women’s super league.
The Mystics may also have to depend on some of their more experienced players next year if they are to become a fixture of the Super league with the likes of Sarah Messler being key for the team next year. With the interior defence and the rebounding ability of this Galway side they will still pose a threat at a higher level.
They managed to keep the opposition to some of their lowest scoring games with the highlight coming in a 78-29-point victory where The Mystics managed to hold the Marble City Hawks to under 30 points and showed the defensive ability as well as rebounding prowess that won them promotion back to the Super league.
The Mystics can be proud of their success this season, securing the league and cup double and this young teams shows that they have the ability to become an established Super league team. With the talent of the coaching staff, there is no reason for them not to aim higher.