Neptune run out of energy as former underage star Sean Jenkins and Eanna knock them out of the cup

Dublin side will now face Emporium Cork Basketball in the semi-finals after Christmas
Neptune run out of energy as former underage star Sean Jenkins and Eanna knock them out of the cup

Cian Heaphy, Energywise Ireland Neptune, takes on Mark Reynolds and Sean Jenkins, DBS Eanna, in the Pat Duffy Men's National Cup semi-final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Energywise Ireland Neptune 93 Eanna 97

ENERGYWISE Ireland Neptune bowed out of the Pat Duffy National Cup following a terrific quarter-final clash with Dublin side Eanna at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.

This result will shock the Neptune faithful who fully expected them to reach the semi-final for a derby meeting with Cork Emporium Basketball, who earlier in the day disposed of Killester.

Amazingly what the former Neptune player Sean Jenkins did to his childhood club in a recent Super League game was repeated in this crucial clash.

Three weeks ago Jenkins only registered two points in the opening half but had a storming second and finished with an eye-catching 16. On this occasion, he only had four points at the break and he finished as his team’s top scorer on 19 and to be fair he was their key player when the game hung in the balance.

The visitors were quickest from the blocks with Mark Reynolds banking a shot after only 10 seconds only for Nil Sabata to tie the game on the next Neptune possession.

Neptune looked far more stringent in defence to the last time these teams met and with Jordan Evans and Jordan Blount nailing a three-pointer Neptune raced into a nine-point lead.

Eanna were struggling at both ends of the floor but a time-out by their coach in the fifth minute seemed to settle them back into the flow.

Trailing by 11 points the Dublin side slowly got up to speed and consecutive baskets reduced the deficit to seven points. A strange decision to substitute Sabata seemed to halt the Neptune flow and with Josh Wilson scoring a late lay-up the lead was reduced to six points 22-16.

 Nil Sabata, Energywise Ireland Neptune, rises above Kristijan Andabaka, DBS Eanna. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Nil Sabata, Energywise Ireland Neptune, rises above Kristijan Andabaka, DBS Eanna. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

On the resumption, Eanna drove forward and Stefan Desnica punished them with a stunning shot outside the paint.

As the opening minutes matured Neptune got sloppier and consecutive baskets from Joshua Wilson edged the Dublin side ahead in the 15th minute.

On top of this some of the calls made by the referees in the foul department were soft on both sides although the home team will feel hard they suffered more than their opponents.

The closing minutes to the interval were scrappy but Eanna looked happier at the break when they led by the minimum: 41-40.

On the restart, both teams continue to shoot the ball exceptionally well as they traded three-pointers for fun with four registered in the opening four minutes.

The Neptune American Jordan Evans drained two of the four outside the paint and although he finished with 16 points his overall game was disappointing. Evans is an average defender but his unwillingness to compete for rebounds must frustrate his teammates and his failure to produce it on the big stage in this crucial game was clear to see.

Defence was poor on both sides as it became like a shoot-out at the Ok Coral and Neptune allowed Kristijan Andabaka in for a late basket that gave his side a 70-68 lead entering the crucial final quarter.

What was evident coming down the stretch is that Neptune learned little in how to defend their opponents from their recent league defeat as they allowed various players clear looks with Eanna punishing them for fun. In the end, despite the disappointment for the home fans nobody could take it from Eanna who deserved their win even without their star Bosman Marko Tomic due to injury.

Scorers for Energywise Ireland Neptune: J Blount 24, N Sabata 18, R Downey 17, J Evans 16.

Eanna: S Jenkins 19, J Wilson 18, M Reynolds 18, S Desinica 17.

NEPTUNE: 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.

EANNA: R Nelson, S Kinevane, V Lovic, C Andabaka, S Desnica, N Lynch, S Jenkins, C Dikcius, J Wilson, N Comerford, M Reynolds, M Tomic.

Referees: J Dooley (Portlaoise), C White (Dublin), L Aherne (Limerick)

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