Silver For Ireland's Women On European Return

Silver For Ireland's Women On European Return

  • Jul 03,2016
July 3rd, 2016

FIBA Women’s European Championships For Small Countries Final:
Ireland 59-67 San Marino

Ireland’s Women finished their first campaign in seven years with a silver medal as they lost out to Malta in the final of the FIBA European Championships For Small Countries in Gibraltar.

The 67-59 win was Malta’s third in the last five tournaments, but they had to come from behind against an Irish side who put together a stunning first half of basketball. 

“We had them at half time,” said Head Coach Mark Scannell. “We were doing all the things that we were really good at and we just came out flat for the second half.”

Five three pointers in the first quarter alone had Ireland up 27-19. The triples came from Aine McKenna, Sarah Woods, Michelle Clarke and brace from Danielle O’Leary and though Malta were starting to match up well, Scannell’s side pushed the lead out to 39-29 at the break. 

Malta showed their quality to level the game within six minutes of the restart and take a 51-50 lead into the final quarter. 

Amy Waters came in to hit back-to-back jump shots off the bench and Grainne Dwyer and Claire Rockall combined for a gritty 5-0 at the start of the fourth but Malta’s seasoned campaigners were moving through the gears. 

It took over seven minutes for Aine McKenna to snap Ireland’s scoreless streak with a rousing three-pointer, but it wasn’t going to be enough. 

“It was a bit of a struggle trying to get that momentum going again in the final quarter,” said Scannell. “In fairness they never gave up but stuff didn’t fall that had been falling for us all week and their professional players made some big shots when the game was on the line.” 

“I’m very proud. It’s been some effort this week. We’ll learn a lot from it and Ireland will come back stronger. It just wasn’t our day today.” 

Ireland: Aine McKenna* (9), Sarah Woods* (7), Claire Rockall* (14), Grainne Dwyer* (11), Aoife McDermott* (2), Michelle Clarke (6), Casey Grace, Amy Waters (4), Danielle O’Leary (6), Sinead Deegan, Aine O’Connor.

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