RECAP: Ireland U20 men lose out to Belarus in final group game
July 16, 2019
It was another tough day at the office for the Ireland Under 20 men’s team, as they lost out to Belarus 59-81 in their final group game at the FIBA U20 Men’s European Championship Division B in Portugal.
A tough opening quarter was where most of the damage was done, Belarus showed their intent in the opening minutes with no hesitation in shooting from outside while having some strong forwards who could control the boards to provide second attempts when needed. Eoin Nelson got the opening score for Ireland with a nice dunk off a Tadgh Crowley assist, but Belarus had opened a 10 -2 lead before Darragh O’Sullivan finished inside to make it 10 – 4 after four minutes. The next few minutes were where Belarus stepped up a gear, their full court pressure started to tell with turnovers starting to creep in for Ireland and suddenly the lead jumped out to sixteen despite Cillian O’Driscoll’s 5 quick points. The quarter finished 33 – 17 in favour of Belarus.
The second started with O’Sullivan and Crowley finishing some nice moves to eat into that lead before a five-minute period of scrappy play where neither side could get a clean look. Ireland’s defensive intensity started to show and they would go on to hold Belarus to just 13 points this quarter. Finn Hughes hit a nice jump shot off an Eoin McCann steal to cut the lead to twelve but the very impressive duo of Ryuny and Stubeda didn’t let that last. At half time Belarus had stretched the lead back out to twenty, 46-26.
The third quarter started off with more of the same at the start but opened up and every time Ireland scored Belarus had an answer. McCann, Nelson and O’Sullivan all had some nice shots fall and they kept the score board ticking over but Belarus always found a way to score even with some great defensive pressure shown at times. Conor Liston forced a nice steal and Kris Arcilla made some nice assists late in the quarter, but Belarus hit two daggers from deep to stop any thoughts of an Irish comeback, it was 69-42 going into the last quarter.
Ireland came out determined to cut into the deficit, Liston, Crowley and Nelson all scored in the opening few minutes to bring it back to under twenty but again some turn overs and missed shots didn’t allow Ireland to keep that offensive rhythm going. While Ireland won the this last quarter it was not enough and Belarus finished winners on the score-line of 81 – 59. After the game, the coaches and players stated “Unfortunately the tough reality is that if you’re not willing to learn from your mistakes fast, you are not going to compete at this level. Going from game to game and repeating the same mistakes is punishing to us as a team. Our effort is not good enough to win games, we need to do more. We think we can just go out and outshoot teams when in reality, it’s not that easy. We need to play for the full 40 minutes. We lost that game through turnovers and not getting back and not paying attention to our game plan. We can only apologize for our performance and try and rectify our game plan. We would like to thank our supporters who have travelled and hopefully we can give them a win in our next game.."
The Ireland U20 men have rest day’s tomorrow and Thursday before their first classification game on Friday.
IRELAND: Darragh O’Sullivan (18), Eoin Nelson (13), Eoin McCann (9), Tadhg Crowley (8), Conor Liston (2), Kris Arcilla , Finn Hughes (2), James Lyons (inj), Cillian O’Driscoll (5), James Gormley (2), Matthew Rooney, Lourd Valenzuela.
Ireland U20 Men Results
Tuesday, July 16th
Group Game 4
Belarus 81-59 Ireland
WATCH BACK: https://youtu.be/TrJqueEde78