RECAP: Ireland U16 Men 51-58 Hungary
August 10, 2017
It may well be looked back on as the one that got away for the Ireland Under 16 men this evening as they were unlucky not to secure a win in their first game of the FIBA U16 European Championship, losing out to Hungary in the closing minute, 51-58.
A huge performance in particular from Ireland’s Sanmi Fajana was one of the main talking points of the game as Fajana chipped in with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Indeed, it was a strong showing by the boys in green across the board, with CJ Fulton controlling from the front, and David Lehane, Daire Kennelly and Oisin Rice all proving crucial at both ends of the court throughout the game.
It was truly a case of missed opportunity though, as despite strong defence by the squad, missed shots on lay-ups and jump shots gave Hungary the opening they needed, and they exploited it in style to close out the victory.
A nervy opening quarter saw things neck-in-neck on court, with scores at a premium. Ireland had the slight edge at the buzzer leading by one, 10-9, but the pace of the game accelerated rapidly from the re-start, with a hectic second quarter seeing Fajana come into his own, bagging a dunk, lay ups, and free throws to see Ireland match Hungary score for score. A crucial free throw from Lehane saw the game tied at 25 apiece, and Ireland took the edge in the dying seconds to go to the dressing room 27-25 up.
A huge defensive display from both sides in the third ensured that scores were hard-earned, and as the clock ticked into the last quarter, Ireland closed the gap once more when Kennelly netted a free throw with just two minutes to play. Fajana was on hand to tie the game once more at 51-51, but Hungary found an extra reserve of energy in the closing minute as they went on a 7-0 run to finish out the game 58-51 point winners in the end.
Speaking afterwards, Coach Pat Price said: “We’re at a European Championships now, so there’s no room for error. We had plenty of chances, and we missed a lot of them – a lot of lay-ups and other shots. We played fairly disciplined defence and I thought we played good basketball in the first half. We recovered a lot of loose ball, but they punished us on rebounding, they collected 12 offensive rebounds to our two, so they got us on second chance shots. At this level, we can really only give teams one chance and one chance only to score. We need to be more ruthless on our rebounds.
"Overall, I thought we created a lot of opportunities and they won by seven in the end, which is the biggest margin of the game. It was a real battle – the lead changed 20 times in that match. We’re disappointed of course, but our opponents tomorrow won’t care about that, so we need to bounce back and bounce back well.”
Ireland U16 Men's Results - FIBA U16 European Championship Division B
Group Game 1
Hungary 58-51 Ireland
IRELAND: Paul Kelly (5), CJ Fulton (2), Nathan Moore (2), Andrew O’Connor, Cian Daly (4), David Lehane (8), Daire Kennelly (3), Oisin Rice (3), Tiernan Howe (4), Sanmi Fajana (18), Daniel Arimoro (2), Ronan Cregan.
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH3AKARxZ8Y