Cork basketball: Fr Mathew’s made to work all the way by Portlaoise

Darko Bucan's side kept up their recent good run of results in Division 1
Cork basketball: Fr Mathew’s made to work all the way by Portlaoise

Fr Mathew's David Murray takes on Portlaoise's Sean Condon and Ian Lynch during the Men's Division 1 League at the Fr Mathew's Arena. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Fr Mathew’s 69 Portlaoise Panthers 61

FR Mathew’s recent good form continued in the Men’s Division 1 National League when they overcame a highly rated Portlaoise Panthers side at the Fr Mathews Arena.

In a game that Mathew’s had to battle in from start to finish, they eventually saw off the Midlander’s challenge much to the relief of player-coach Darko Bucan.

“We were missing a few players but the lads that stepped in did really well against a side who are on the back of some decent results,” said Bucan.

The Mathew’s chief, along with assistant Niall O’Reilly, have been working hard with the young players in their squad and Bucan believes their cup game against the same opposition in Portlaoise will be a tougher encounter.

“It will test our resolve but look the lads will be ready as the attitude in the squad is excellent,” added Bucan.

Fr Mathew's Jonathan Garcia goes past Portlaoise's Sean Condon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Fr Mathew's Jonathan Garcia goes past Portlaoise's Sean Condon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The opening quarter was a tight affair with both sides intent on playing stringent defence.

Sean McManus is having a good season in the Fr Mathews colours and his consecutive jumpers gave his side a three-point lead in the eighth minute Panthers struggled in the offence court but Luke Thompson finished the quarter with a deft move to the hoop that reduced the deficit to the minimum 13-12.

Scoring averages improved on the restart but with both defences well on top getting clear looks wasn’t easy for either side.

Brian O’Neill has donned the colours of a few clubs at national league level and his experience helped his side big time in this game.

O’Neill finished with a monstrous three-pointer as Mathews led by the minimum at the break 33-32.

The visitors had the better of the third quarter and with American Nelson Larkins posing the home team problems they managed to take a three-point lead into the final quarter.

When the home side needed inspiration coming down the stretch they got it from O’Neill who basically shot the lights out.

In the end, Mathews were worthy eight-point winners and there is little doubt their forthcoming cup clash will be keenly contested.

Top scorers for Fr Mathews: B O’Neill 18, J Garcia 18, S McManus 17.

Portlaoise Panthers: N Larkins 25, L Thompson 10, L Kinsella 9.

Fr MATHEW’S: J O’Mahony, D Murray, A O’Donovan, H Bevan, D Bucan, S McManus, B Merchant, J Garcia, B O’Neill, L Osborne, A Connolly.

PANTHERS: N Larkins, D Dunne, C Byrne, G Morrissey, C Gallagher, S Condon, M Thompson, L Kinsella, B Butler, L Thompson, I Lynch.

Referees: G Daly, C Murray.

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