Eanna 73 Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 87
TRADEHOUSE Central Ballincollig produced their best performance of the season to defeat Eanna in the quarter-final of the President’s Cup at the Oblate Hall yesterday.
Both sides were unbeaten going into this game, with Ballincollig dominating the Men’s Division 1 Southern Conference and Eanna doing likewise in the Northern section.
Billed as the clash of the titans, the Leesiders certainly showed their mettle with American ace Andre Nation chipping in with 32 points, Ian McLoughlin maintaining his upsurge in form with 21 and Ciarán O'Sullivan hitting 17. Now they move into the semi-finals, which will take place in early January in Cork, against Limerick Celtics with high hopes of retaining their crown.
Coach Kieran O’Sullivan, who spent Saturday assisting Ballincollig's U14 squad who were taking part in the All-Ireland tournament at Parochial Hall, reflected on a great day for the club.
“I think when we won this cup last season it was one of the best moments in my basketball career as the joy it brought to Ballincollig was incredible.
“I travelled to Dublin to watch them last week and although I was impressed with them in the back of my mind I had the feeling we would do the business.”
Ballincollig took the game by the scruff of the neck in the opening quarter as Mcloughlin had a superb game that laid the foundation for his side to surge into an eight-point lead. Nation finished the quarter in style as the mid Cork club led 26-17 entering the second quarter.
Eanna showed a lot of resilience on the restart but with the teams trading baskets Ballincollig were still in pole position at the interval when commanding a 45-35 lead.
Although Eanna battled hard in the third quarter Ballincollig always had their measure with O’Sullivan showing all his class and experience.
As the game matured Ballincollig took total command as the final buzzer was met with elation by players and fans alike with a semi-final in Cork looming against Limerick Celtics.
Top scorers for Eanna: S Zecevic 19, J Wilson 13, N Lynch 11.
Ballincollig: A Nation 32, I McLoughlin 21, C O’Sullivan 17.