RECAP: Ireland U20 men lose out to Iceland in Game 2
July 13, 2019
The Ireland Under 20 men lost out 85-61 to Iceland in their second group game at the FIBA U20 Men’s European Championship Division B this afternoon in Portugal.
A much improved performance from the Irish in this afternoon’s game saw them challenge Iceland throughout the second half in particular, but an extremely strong first quarter showing in particular from Iceland helped them over the line to victory.
Iceland opening the scoring in the first and were leading 5-0 before Cillian O’Driscoll got Ireland off the mark with a well taken score. Scores from Eoin McCann and Tadhg Crowley followed, but Iceland added five points in quick succession at the other end to widen the margin once more. A good move from Eoin Nelson was again responded to immediately at the other end, and Iceland added another nine points before Darragh O’Sullivan chipped in with a big three. Iceland added another before the buzzer to see them lead 27-11 at the end of the first.
A more evenly matched second quarter followed, with Crowley again to the fore for Ireland and getting them off the mark early on. Conor Liston was also impressive, dictating play from the top of the key, and the Irish were unlucky to see some of their shots fail to drop as they pushed Iceland hard. An 8-0 run by Iceland was stalled by a score from Crowley, but Iceland went on a 7-0 run directly afterwards – to include some dagger threes - to drive them further into the lead. O’Sullivan responded with a big three of his own, and a super move from O’Driscoll finished the quarter out to see Ireland trail 46-27 at the half.
A much stronger second half from the Irish followed, with impressive displays throughout from Finn Hughes, O’Sullivan, Liston and James Gormley. A fast-paced third quarter saw Iceland continue to run the floor well, but Ireland had found their rhythm and scores from Hughes, Gormley and Liston rained in. Iceland took control of the quarter towards the end, adding a quick six points, but a Gormley put back sent the Irish to the bench with the momentum, trailing 66-41.
A super fourth quarter from the Irish saw them win the quarter (20-19) thanks to brilliant shooting from Hughes, Gormley, Kris Arcilla and O’Driscoll to put the pressure back on Iceland. Eoin McCann put the game right to them with six minutes to play, closing the gap back to 69-52 to round off a superb 8-0 run by the Irish. Iceland responded from beyond the arc at the other end, but again, Ireland added another quick six points. Iceland’s superb range from the three-point line kept the margin on the scoreboard though,and despite super defense and scores from the Irish, the work had already been done by Iceland and they won out 85-61 in the end.
Speaking afterwards, assistant coach John Finn stated: “We didn’t play well in the first half, but in the second half we showed that Irish spirit. The second half was basically almost level. We showed in that half that we’re capable of playing with these teams, but we have to learn much quicker than we have been learning, and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to stay with the team for the whole game.”
The Ireland U20 men now face Hungary in their third group game tomorrow at 8.30pm Irish time.
IRELAND: Darragh O’Sullivan (12), Eoin Nelson (2), Eoin McCann (4), Tadhg Crowley (8), Conor Liston (7), Kris Arcilla (5), Finn Hughes (8), James Lyons, Cillian O’Driscoll (7), James Gormley (8), Matthew Rooney, Lourd Valenzuela.
Ireland U20 Men Results
Friday, July 12th
Group Game 2
Iceland 85-61 Ireland
WATCH BACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urY12pti18Y