Fr Mathew’s 66 Sligo All Stars 45
A TOP-CLASS display by Fr Mathew’s earned them an impressive win over a highly rated Sligo All Stars side in a competitive Men’s Division 1 clash at Fr Mathew’s Arena on Saturday.
Not the classiest basketball game we will witness this season but for sheer determination and courage there were many impressive periods in Mathew’s dogged win.
Remember this Sligo All Stars team applied to play in the Super League this season and were being touted by many shrewd observers as the main contenders for promotion along with Cork outfit Ballincollig.
The opening quarter was a battle right from tip off with both teams playing exceptional stringent defence.
Player coach Darko Bucan will have been pleased in the manner his team competed at both ends of the floor with Luke O’Mahony playing a captain’s role that saw him finish with a back-door drive to give his side a 10-8 lead in the fifth minute.
Although scoring was low the effort put in by both sides should be commended and with a late basket from the Sligo American Brandon Berry saw his side edge ahead at the end of the quarter 12-11.
Looking at the Sligo squad they had two Americans and four Europeans in their team that begs the question where is Irish basketball going to?
Players like Oisin O’Reilly, a former Irish International, came on court as seventh man from the bench and surely that cannot be helping the development of their home-bred players.
The introduction of the former Neptune star David Murray lifted the home side in the second quarter as in the space of three minutes he contributed consecutive baskets and a three-pointer.
The physicality stakes increased and with Jack O’Mahony having a tremendous game on the boards it was no surprise Mathew’s went in at the break with a five-point lead 28-23.
On the restart American Jervis Pugh shot a stunning three pointer and when the same player followed up with a basket and bonus the westerners looked in disarray.
Pugh had a buzzer-beater three that increased their lead to 19 points 56-37 entering the final quarter.
Coming down the stretch it was a case of going through the motions for Mathew’s as they used their full complement of players from the bench and with Luke O’Mahony giving a man of the match performance this was a win that is sure to give them a huge lift going forward.
Scorers for Fr Mathew’s: J Pugh 17, D Murray 13, O Connolly 10.
Sligo All Stars: J San Martin 10, A Escinas 8, B Berry 6.
Fr MATHEW’S: J Pugh, D Brazas, D Bucan, O Connolly, D Herlihy, D O’Herlihy, L O’Mahony, E Barrett, P O’Driscoll, K Garcia, D Cahill, B Denniffe, A O’Donovan, J O’Mahony, D Murray.
SLIGO: O O’Reilly, M Donnellan, B Berry, J McLoughlin, J San Martin, C Lally, E Keogh, C Long, A Escinas, M Loda, S Snee, E Donaghy, Z Balogun, S O’Meara.
Referees: C Kelly (Kilkenny), M Daly (Limerick).