Recap: Ireland U20w 55-69 Ukraine

Recap: Ireland U20w 55-69 Ukraine

  • Jul 15,2016
July 15th, 2016
Ireland 55, Ukraine 69
IRELAND suffered their fourth successive defeat at the U20 European Championships in Montenegro on Friday afternoon, however it was bar far their best performance of the tournament so far.

Facing into the test without the injured Kate O'Flaherty, coach Emer Foley's side started well thanks to 10 points from top scorer Aoife Whelan (20), and raced into a nine-point lead with Caoimhe Moore and Sarah Kenny also adding points. However Vita Horobeks (16) and Olga Yatskovets (18) kept Ukraine in it as they settled down, catching the Irish defence out on the transition. And, despite initially trailing, they brought it back to with seven (19-12).

The height of 6ft 5'' Kristina Karp began to cause problems for Ireland, but Foley's players didn't help themselves, shooting only 29% from the floor compared to 43% by their opponents. Two three-pointers by Whelan however, who finished with 18 points in the first-half, kept them afloat as did a monstrous three by Caoimhe Moore.
As the second quarter wore on, the Ukraine began to punish Ireland again on the break, while foul trouble saw

Viktoriya Kondus give her side a two-point lead at half-time (28-30).
Upon the restart, Horobeks gave the Ukraine a seven-point lead, but a hat-trick of baskets from Team Montenotte Glanmire star Sarah Kenny, including a delightful floater, kept the Irish in tow.

They began to penetrate the Ukraine defence with a lot more aggression in the third-quarter and it paid off, with Kenny now dominating the scoring for Ireland, and finishing with an impressive double-double (13:13).

By the end of the third, she tallied 10 points and nine rebounds, while excellent defence by Holli Dunne of IT Carlow and offensive play from Nadine Rice saw Ireland come within four (46-50).

But, the Ukraine always managed to keep their noses in front as they punished Ireland at the free-throw line, with Ruth Leavey fouling out in the closing stages.

Despite a late rally, the depth of the Ukraine side told, however the hunger of the Irish has to be noted in what was their best performance to-date amid temperatures hitting the 30-degree mark.

Speaking after the game, coach Emer Foley gave huge credit to her players for the passion they showed.
"That's our best game by far and we're only getting better.  We can't fault the girls at all who's commitment on the floor was just exceptional. The support too we had from the Irish fans and parents was brilliant and I think that really helped us.
"Aoife Whelan finished the top scorer with 20 points and Sarah Kenny had a double-double, while Holli Dunne's defence was absolutely excellent.
"We've Belarus on Saturday (4.45pm) and to be honest we'll have to seriously up our shooting percentage. Today it was just 29% and that's not good enough at this level, but in saying that our turnover rate was the lowest it's been, so as I say there's lots of positives to take away for the Belarus game tomorrow," Foley added.

IRELAND: A Whelan (20), S Kenny (13), C Moore (6), H Dunne (5), R Leavey (4) H McCarthy (3), M Connolly (2) and N Rice (2).

Live Stream -
Box Score -
Official Partners