Energywise Ireland Neptune 83 Eanna 98
A comprehensive defeat for Energywise Ireland Neptune in the Men’s Super League as a superb fourth quarter from Eanna saw them run out comfortable winners before another large attendance at the Neptune Stadium.
Hard to weigh up the Neptune performance but when you are missing a star player like Nil Sabata you're missing a key link at both ends of the court.
Marko Tomic had Eanna up and running with a basket in the opening minute with Jordan Evans bring the teams on parity.
Neptune minus Sabata lacked firepower but with Jordan Blount producing lovely moves they surged into a 10-5 lead.
On the next possession, Blount produced a stunning three-pointer as the Eanna coach Darren McGovern immediately called a time-out in the fourth minute.
In the next couple of minutes, the basketball got scrappier but the class of Blount kept Neptune in control with some deft moves to the hoop.
Eanna went on a run in the closing minutes and a late Ramon Nelson jumper helped them command a 24-22 lead entering the second quarter.
The former UL Eagles star Scott Kinevane got Eanna off to the perfect start with a stunning shot outside the paint but Blount immediately replied with consecutive baskets.
Indeed without Blount Neptune would have struggled big time as up to the 13th minute he had amassed 18 of their 31 points tally.
Four three-pointers from Neil Lynch extended the Eanna lead to 14 points with 3.58 remaining to the interval as the Neptune defence looked all at sea.
Finally, Neptune American Jordan Evans responded to the wake-up call with consecutive three-pointers as the deficit was reduced to six points 45-39 with 2.13 remaining to the interval.
The Neptune intensity continued and with Downey producing two stunning drives it helped his side cut the lead to three points at the break 48-45.
On the restart, a brace of Roy Downey threes edged Neptune ahead but this was a period where both sides matched one another on the scoring front and with the sides locked on 68 points each an interesting fourth quarter was predicted.
Coming down the stretch Neptune’s defence was exposed as their former young star Sean Jenkins showed his class as his side scored at will.
For the Neptune faithful they will feel confident that they can gain revenge when the sides meet again at the same venue in the National Cup quarter-final on December 3.
No guarantees as Eanna will take lots of confidence from this win and Colin O’Reilly will have to do a major overhaul on how he approaches this crucial game defensively.
The return of Sabata will help Neptune but they will need to play a lot smarter and be structured to get over their Dublin opponents.
J Blount 31, R Downey 19, J Evans 15.
M Tomic 19, N Lynch 17, S Jenkins 16, J Wilson 15.
G Walsh, K O’Donoghue, R Downey, C Heaphy, A Heaphy, J Evans, X Arriaga, N Sabata, J Blount, C Leahy, K Garcia, K Scott.
R Nelson, S Kinevane, V Lovic, C Andabaka, S Desnica, N Lynch, S Jenkins, C Dikcius, J Wilson, N Comerford, M Reynolds, M Tomic.
N Makysko (Dublin), P J Coughlan (Cork), M Niaraki (Mullingar).