Honours even in U18's Mens International

Honours even in U18's Mens International

  • Sep 07,2015
July 16th 2015 - U18 Men's International: Ireland 61, Portugal 54

The Ireland U18 Men’s preparation for the European Championships remains on an upward curve after a 61-54 win over Portugal at the Lousada Sports Centre. Portugal had beaten Belgium and the Netherlands at the same venue in the north of the country the week previous.

“Five of our team hadn’t played in an away international before so this is a big boost for us,” said Head Coach Joey Boylan. “It shows that we can win at this level when we bring the right attitude.”

Ireland put in a major defensive effort in the second half to hold out for the win. “We went into a 2-1-2 zone and it set up Eoin Rockall and Marcus Black to steal the ball and make some layups,” said Boylan.

The scoring of Jordan Blount kept Ireland in contention in the first quarter and they eventually took the lead in Q2. Conor Ryan came in to do a job on the boards and Tariq Guebaili converted three steals to edge his side in front. It was 39-30 at half time.

The Head Coach said “We left a lot of baskets after us in the second half but the guys really knuckled down on defence.”

Portugal got back to within four points midway through the fourth but Ryan Leonard stepped up with a couple of big steals down the stretch as Jordan Blount fouled out. Martin Neary’s put backs gave Ireland more margin to play with and they eventually ran out seven point winners. Portugal were restricted to shots from the free-throw line for the final four minutes.

Ireland: Eoin Rockall, Marcus Black, Jordan Blount, Martin Neary, Joe Tummon. Substitutes: Owen Connolly, Conor Ryan, Ryan Leonard, Tariq Guebaili.

July 17th 2015 - U18 Men's International: Portugal 94, Ireland 65

Portugal gained a measure of revenge for yesterday's upset with a 94-65 win over Ireland in Northern Iberia. Ireland were without the services of Stephen O’Hanlon (Knee), Kevin Doran (Ankle) and James Byrne (Ankle) for the series but an arm injury to Jordan Blount against Portugal left Head Coach Joey Boylan with just eight fit players to choose from. Blount required stitches after a heavy fall in Game One.

The Irish knuckled down to the task at hand and were full of invention in the opening exchanges. Marcus Black settled early with a brace of three-pointers, the first off a left-handed behind the back assist from Eoin Rockall. That put Ireland head 8-6 but Portugal were soon in control and went on an 11-0 run before Eoin Rockall pulled up to intervene.

“Portugal haven’t finalised their squad yet to they had extra players to add in today,” said Boylan. “Fatigue played a part but we were always battling back after that early run.”

It was 24-15 for Q1 and Portugal had their strongest scoring quarter in the second to lead 52-31 at half time.

The lead was stretched out to 27 points by the end of the third period and while Ireland were still outscored down the stretch, they managed to score 19 points in the last 10 minutes.

“We learned a valuable lesson about what happens when you drop the head for even 30 seconds at this level. Teams will punish you very quickly.”

And what about the injury concerns just seven days away from the first game of the European Championships? “I’d be fairly confident I’ll be back up to 11 players by the first day and 12 players by the second or third.”

Small Forward Ryan Leonard was glad of the experience: We were a bit tired today but we’ve learned from it and I think we’re ready to go to Austria at this stage.”

Ireland: Eoin Rockall, Marcus Black, Ryan Leonard, Martin Neary, Joe Tummon. Substitutes: Owen Connolly, Conor Ryan, Tariq Guebaili.
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