Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 71 Fr Mathew’s 37
THE final scoreline epitomises the gulf of class between these sides as Tradehouse Central Ballincollig maintained their unbeaten record in the Men’s Division 1 National League at Ballincollig Community School.
In a low-scoring drab encounter due to the favourites’s dominance, with the exception of a few spectacular Andre Nation dunks this game didn’t enthuse the biggest attendance this season at the venue.
Granted both sides were on the back of a second game in less than 24 hours but Ballincollig, despite stuttering in the opening quarter, gradually showed their class.
Mathew’s looked a team with no plan how to break down the Ballincollig defence and their final tally of 37 is testament to that. Going through their scoring averages they amassed nine in quarter one, 10 in quarter two, eight in quarter three and 10 in quarter four that sums up a very poor day at the office.
The Mathew’s American Jarvis Pugh worked hard in defence but his contribution of four points isn’t good enough for a professional at this level. For a team that were seen as one of Ballincollig’s primary challengers for silverware they were off the pace here.
The smile on the face of the Ballincollig coach Kieran O’Sullivan after the game told a thousand stories as he reflected on leading his team to an unbeaten first round of games in this division.
“Look it might not have been one of our high-scoring performances this season but I think our defence was another level as we took a lot of their threats with our ball pressure,” said O’Sullivan.
Coach O’Sullivan believes Fr Mathew’s probably underachieved on the day but praised his troops in the manner they closed out the game.
“I have no doubt they are better than they played here today but in all honesty we made a statement we want promotion to the Super League and now at the half way stage we are two games ahead,” added O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan concluded: “We have everybody fit and with Andre Nation almost back to his best hopefully our drive will take us to promotion come March.”
The mood in the Fr Mathew’s camp was naturally a little downbeat but player-coach Darko Bucan looked on some positives shown by his side.
“I am not surprised in some ways as this Ballincollig side are a serious outfit but on the plus side we showed great defensive qualities that restricted them to 71 points,” said Bucan.
Coach Bucan believes the loss of Jack O’Mahony was tough to replace for his side and a new approach will be made when the team clash again. There’s another league game to come and if both progress in the National Cup they’ll collide in the final.
“We will have to find a way to score more as we just didn’t deliver in that department as we are capable of putting up bigger numbers,” said Bucan.
In the opening quarter both sides struggled in the offence court and it took a Ciarán O’Sullivan three-pointer midway through this period that gave his side a lift.
Mathew’s were struggling big time but Bucan did finish with a neat jumper that helped his side reduce the deficit to 14-9 entering the second period.
On the restart Ian McLoughlin shot a monstrous three and the home side followed up with three consecutive baskets that seemed to knock the stuffing out of their opponents.
At times some of the attempts in the offence court from Fr Mathew’s bordered on the ridiculous and they looked in trouble when trailing 35-19.
On the restart the class of Ballincollig gradually dismantled Mathew’s defence and when Nation took a fabulous assist from Dylan Corkery, who was excellent on defence again, he produced a massive slammer that thrilled the younger fans especially.
In the end coach O’Sullivan could afford to run his bench as his side were simply another level against their Cork rivals.
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig began the weekend with a terrific 91-72 victory over Limerick Celtics on Saturday with Nation finishing with a game-high 39 points. Mathew’s were also successful against UL Eagles with a hard fought 75-70 win at home.
Scorers for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: A Nation 23, S O’Sullivan 11, C O’Sullivan 8, I McLoughlin 8.
Fr Mathew’s: L O’Mahony 10, D Cahill 7, D Murray 6.
Referees: Peter James Coughlan (Cork), Eddie Cooke (Cork).