Cork 52 Galway 25
CORK were crowned Inter-county U14 champions following a terrific win over Galway at the UL Arena.
The Leesiders produced a solid first half that saw them take control against a bewildered Galway side who were slight favourites going into the game.
This was the first time in over a decade that there was an intercounty championship held and Cork Basketball Board secretary Willie McCarthy praised all concerned for their efforts.
“There was a tremendous coaching staff and squad that paved the way for this impressive win and many thanks to all concerned for their efforts in securing the title,” said McCarthy.
The hard-working secretary believes this competition will give young players something to aspire to in their young careers.
McCarthy added: “All the players involved were proud to wear the Cork jersey and as a board we were happy to support this venture.”
In the opening quarter, Cork were superb and with Charles Nkoy unstoppable they soon commanded a 10-point lead.
The westerners were hanging on by a thread to stay in within striking distance but Cork looked in pole position entering the second quarter when commanding a 16-3 lead.
Credit to the Galway side they battened down the hatches in the second quarter as they played far better defence and restricted the various Cork scoring threats. The shooting of Nathan Gbinigie posed Cork problems as he began the quarter with three consecutive baskets.
The Rebels responded and with Oliver Ensko showing nice touches at the post they were soon back in the mix.
In the closing minute, Denis Brusevics nailed a crucial three-pointer as Cork went in at the break commanding a 26-12 lead.
No doubt the halftime pep talk from the Cork coaching staff worked the oracle as they looked a far sharper team on the restart. Ballincollig star Oisin Tobin was awesome and with Sean Noonan solid in defence they were soon back in total control.
Kian O’Rourke was also impressive in this period and entering the final quarter the game was put out of reach of Galway as Cork increased their lead to 26 points.
Coming down the stretch both teams used various rotations but the game remained competitive up to the final buzzer.
In the end, Cork’s quality and depth ensured them the title as the final buzzer brought ecstatic scenes at the Limerick venue.
CORK: O Tobin, L Walsh, J O’Connell, C Nkoy, S Walsh, D Brusevics, T Byrd, W Carmody, O Ensko, S Noonan, K O’Rourke, J Midleton.
GALWAY: A Ogueiwe, C McCarthy, C Flaherty, L Gannon, L O Canaola, N Gbingie, R Holland, T Grealish, T George, J Cullinane.