RECAP: Ireland U18W make it two from two at Europeans
The Ireland Under 18 women’s team made it two wins from two games at this year’s FIBA U18 Women’s European Championships this afternoon, running out 60-39 point winners over tournament hosts, North Macedonia.
It was a tough and tricky test for the girls in green though, with North Macedonia leading proceedings until the midway point in the third quarter. Once the Irish hit their rhythm though there was no stopping them and, led by captain fantastic Katie Walshe, along with superb performances from Abby Flynn and Deborah Ogayemi, the Irish won out comfortably in the end.
It looked like it was going to be a long four quarters early on though, with the large home crowd driving their team into an early 6-0 lead over the Irish, with Ilina Selcova and Teona Stojanova the big threats for the hosts. Scores from Flynn, Alex Mulligan and Ogayemi got Ireland off the mark, but they trailed 18-12 at the end of the first. A tough second quarter followed as the momentum stayed with North Macedonia, and some tough shot decisions by the Irish allowed the hosts to break out in transition. A fantastic quarter from Mulligan kept Ireland’s scoreboard ticking over, and a superb turn and score from the Ulster University Elks player saw her close the gap back down to trail by just four going in at the half, 27-23.
Siofra O’Shea opened Ireland’s account with a bang in the third quarter, and it certainly laid down a marker of what was to come from the Irish. A quick response from North Macedonia was replied to at the other end by Flynn and Williamson, while Katie Walshe was on hand to add another score off a superb fast break to leave just one point between the sides. Flynn sent Ireland into the lead seconds later, and they never looked back from there, with Ogayemi and Flynn dominating for the remainder of the third quarter to drive Ireland into a 46-37 point lead going into the last.
The determined defence and sheer grit under the boards of the third quarter carried into the fourth for the Irish, with Niamh Kenny getting her name on the score sheet, before Walshe kicked off an outstanding quarter, adding her first of eight points for the period early on. Great defense from Williamson, O’Shea and Maguire kept the hosts’ threats at bay, and with more scores from Walshe and Lauren Darcy raining in, Ireland took a 60-39 point victory in the end.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Tommy O'Mahony stated: "I'm really happy, obviously the first half didn’t go as planned, finishing really hurt us. I think we were like 8 from 49 from the field, which was always going to hurt us, but we were still in the game, only down four points. We fought really hard to stay in the game, the third quarter was excellent we pushed it out and got our fast break going, and we kept them to three points in the fourth.”
The team faces off against Slovakia tomorrow (Sunday) in their third group game at 8pm Irish time.
IRELAND: Abby Flynn (13), Lauren Darcy (2), Mia Furlong, Siofra O’Shea (5), Ciara Tolan, Katie Williamson (8), Ciara Byrne, Niamh Kenny (2), Erin Maguire, Alex Mulligan (9), Deborah Ogayemi (7), Katie Walshe (14)
Ireland U18W Results
Saturday, July 6th
Group Game 2
Ireland 60-39 North Macedonia
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRHzI2qVpos
OFFICIAL EVENT WEBSITE: http://www.fiba.basketball/europe/u18bwomen/2019