Cork Basketball: Jonathan Garcia having an impact at Fr Mathew’s

Niall O'Reilly's side determined to challenge for Super League promotion despite an early cup exit
Cork Basketball: Jonathan Garcia having an impact at Fr Mathew’s

Fr Mathew's Jonathan Garcia in action. Picture by: Peter Pietrzak

IT has been a productive start to the InsureMyVan.ie Division 1 season for Dwyer’s of Cork Fr Mathew’s.

Success this season has been spearheaded by their savvy lead guard, Jonathan Garcia, aiding them in winning five out of their first eight encounters.

Hailing from Springfield, Massachusetts, the 6' 2" professional shoulders a heavy responsibility on both ends of the floor for Mathew’s. Usually recognised for his defensive efforts, Garcia’s development offensively has gotten the Bishopstown outfit over the line in a number of close encounters through their first eight games.

Garcia’s growth has coincided with refreshed ambition both within the squad and throughout the club as they seek to use their facilities and resources to strive for higher heights at the senior level.

“I’d say the biggest difference between this year and last year is the growth within the club and the team. Our mindset and competitiveness has definitely improved and it’s just been incredible to witness it.

“This year consists of new coaches, new jerseys and a few new faces on the team who have bought into what we are trying to accomplish.” 

Niall O’Reilly’s side suffered an early exit from this year’s President’s National Cup when Malahide narrowly beat them on their home floor. Facing a side stacked with talent and experience, Mathew’s battled their way into an overtime period.

Garcia’s absence through foul trouble was evident, leading to ill-advised turnovers and miscommunications, seeing Malahide sneak past the southsiders: 80-83.

“Coming up short after being so close to victory was very disappointing. However, I thought we fought hard and I am proud of the effort put forth by the team.

“I believe that we have learned from that experience and it has made us a better team."

Fr Mathew's Jonathan Garcia iat the launch of their sponsorship with Dwyer's of Cork. Picture: Peter Pietrzak
Fr Mathew's Jonathan Garcia iat the launch of their sponsorship with Dwyer's of Cork. Picture: Peter Pietrzak

Typically, teams who get knocked out of the National Cup allow their seasons to stray off-track with a decline in motivation and focus.

The challenge for O’Reilly, Garcia and the rest of the squad will be to advance ongoing development to their young core and make the most of their position in the league table.

Sitting in fifth spot with two games in hand on the leaders, it is imperative that Cork’s only remaining Division 1 side continues to fight for league glory and promotion.

FOCUSED

“The goal is to continue improving each day, both individually and as a team.

“It’s about placing an emphasis on not looking too far ahead, but just focusing on the next match and the training sessions leading up to it during the week.

“We are focused on playing our style of basketball and making sure we are prepared for each match, one game at a time, controlling what we can control.” 

Garcia has called Cork his home for the last two years following his graduation from Limerick Institute of Technology with a Masters in Marketing and Management Strategies. Before that, he attended Dominican College in New York where he won two conference titles as a team captain in the NCAA Division II.

Now, when he’s not coaching the youth teams or working out at the Fr Mathew’s Arena, he enjoys being able to experience all that Cork City has to offer.

“Cork has been an amazing experience! The people are very friendly, and the sights are just unreal. 

One of my favourite places to go is the Marina Market. Seeing how it has grown and expanded from last year to this year is just incredible.” 

Garcia will hope to close out the calendar year with a pair of home wins at Fr Mathew’s Arena.

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