RECAP: Tough opening game for Ireland U16 men

RECAP: Tough opening game for Ireland U16 men

  • Aug 09,2018

It was a tough day at the office for the Ireland Under 16 men’s team as they lost out 59-69 to a big and physical Great Britain side in their opening game at the FIBA Under 16 European Championship Division B in Sarajevo.

It was Ireland’s Ronan Collins who got them off the mark early on, as he netted a nice jump shot, but it was quickly responded to at the other end by Great Britain. Ireland began to build momentum as Collins and co-captain Eli Lenihan added to the scoreboard to give Ireland an early 8-4 lead, and very little separated the sides as they drew level multiple times in the opening quarter.

Great Britain worked hard to take the lead, with some slick three-point shooting, but Collins drove to the basket and once more brought Ireland ahead with less than three minutes left in the quarter. Despite some fantastic offensive plays though, Ireland found themselves trailing 22-25 at the end of the first.

An intense second quarter followed, as Great Britain kicked it up a gear, using their size and athleticism to their advantage. Indeed, they just couldn’t miss, making shot after shot, while defensively, they caused Irish turnovers and shot-clock violations. Ireland's Denzel Ebose found the target with a fantastic three-point shot that kept the boys in green within reach, while Liam Keating made some great defensive rebounds, but Great Britain had the momentum, and went in at half time leading 30-41.

The third quarter continued in the same fashion, with Great Britain using their strength to knock Ireland off the ball. However, Ireland weren’t done yet, and a brighter fourth quarter followed. Good link up play between CJ Fulton and Conor Walsh caused trouble for the Great Britain’s defence, while scores from Collins and Rapolas Buivydas closed the gap to within ten points. As both teams doubled down on defence though, scores were at a premium in the closing minutes, and Great Britain held on to win out by 10 in the end, 59-69.

Speaking afterwards, head coach Mike Lynch reflected on the game: “Today was a tough start to the competition for our boys, but the players gave everything they had out there today. We didn't execute our sets in the second quarter and went into the break eleven points down. In the second half, we maintained our effort on defence with full court pressure, and while we outscored them in the fourth, the damage had been done earlier. These are a resilient group of young players and we will regroup and come back for tomorrow’s game against Luxembourg. We would really like to thank the tremendous support from the Irish crowd here - they were great.”

IRELAND: CJ Fulton (7), Conor McDonnell (2), Conor Walsh, Denzel Ebose, Eli Lenihan (2), Jack Doyle (3), Kelvin O’Donoghue (2), Liam Keating, Malik Thaim, Oscar O’Lideadha, Rapolas Buivydas (24), Ronan Collins (19)




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