Ballincollig basketballers fall short late on in National Cup semi-final loss to Eanna

Emporium Cork Basketball looked in control when leading by 12 points in the third quarter at Neptune Stadium but couldn't maintain their momentum
Ballincollig basketballers fall short late on in National Cup semi-final loss to Eanna

John Dawson, Emporium Cork Basketball, with possession in the first quarter. Picture: Larry Cummins.

DBS Eanna 77 Emporium Cork Basketball 71
DBS Eanna produced a magnificent second-half rally to deny Ballincollig side Emporium Cork Basketball a place in the Pat Duffy National Cup final before a packed attendance at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.

In a strange game of scoring runs Ballincollig after a slow start bounced back to lead at the break and when they surged ahead by 12 points midway through the third quarter the writing looked on the wall for the Dublin side.

Suddenly Ballincollig went into meltdown and by the end of the quarter, Eanna had reduced the deficit to the minimum as key players from the Cork outfit failed to ignite in the shooting department.

The Dubliners were quickest from the blocks with a Mark Reynolds tip-in that was immediately replied by a Ronan O’Sullivan bank shot.

Eanna went into this game minus three key players with Sean Jenkins, Marko Tomic and Scott Kinevane all side-lined but it didn't affect their opening efforts. Both sides missed a number of good looks in the early exchanges with the tension at fever pitch in front of the capacity attendance.

The one noticeable aspect about Eanna was the manner they were sharing the ball at a serious pace that saw them command a 16-6 lead following a Mark Reynolds fade-away jump shot.

In the closing minutes of the quarter, Ramonn Nelson was introduced and he immediately responded with a stunning shot outside the paint.

Ballincollig were poor in the offensive court and it was no surprise they trailed 22-11 at the end of the opening period. In truth, they were not at their best in opening 10 minutes as they looked tentative at both ends of the court.

On the restart, they looked more pumped up for battle and in the space of two minutes they had reduced the deficit to six points.

Keelan Cairns and Jose Jimenez Gonzalez were now taking the game to Eanna and when Cairns planted his second three-pointer a minute later the lead was reduced to three.

The big difference in the Ballincollig approach was their intensity in defence and with Dylan Corkery nailing two stunning moves to the hoop they reduced the deficit to 31-29 with 1.39 remaining to the interval.

The sides were level with 39 seconds remaining following a brace of John Dawson free throws and the same player ensured the Cork side went in at the break leading by the minimum with another point from the line: 32-31.

Looking at the first-half stats it was certainly a game of two quarters but Ballincollig’s ability to restrict Eanna to a mere nine points in the second period proved crucial in them getting back in the game.

On the resumption, Ballincollig were simply awesome and none more than American Dawson who nailed three three-pointers and a slam dunk after a steal that helped them surge into a 12-point lead midway through the third period.

 John Dawson, Emporium Cork Basketball, with possession in the first quarter. Picture: Larry Cummins.
John Dawson, Emporium Cork Basketball, with possession in the first quarter. Picture: Larry Cummins.

When Ballincollig had an opportunity to close out the game their scoring dried up and in the final five minutes they were outscored 16-5 as Dawson’s touch left him when Eanna came thundering back.

Two players that stood out in the Eanna recovery were Kristijan Andabaka and Stefan Desnica who battled like warriors when Ballincollig suddenly went into meltdown.

After reducing the deficit to the minimum Eanna kicked on as Ballincollig simply couldn’t buy a basket with their shooting going amiss when the game hung in the balance.

Credit to Eanna they showed incredible composure coming down the stretch and the killer basket came with three minutes remaining when Neil Lynch shot a magnificent three-pointer that surged his team into an eight-point lead.

 Adrian O'Sullivan and Jose Jimenez Gonzales of Emporium Cork Basketball in action against Neil Lynch, Eanna. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Adrian O'Sullivan and Jose Jimenez Gonzales of Emporium Cork Basketball in action against Neil Lynch, Eanna. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Try as they did in the closing minutes Ballincollig failed to peg back the rampant Eanna who should be respected for the manner they closed out the game.

A chance that went a-begging for Ballincollig but they should be commended in the manner they battled, but semi-finals are all about winning and on this occasion they fell short.

Top scorers for DBS Eanna: K Andobaka 21, M Reynolds 18, S Desnica 14, R Nelson 14.

Emporium Cork Basketball: J Jimenez Gonzalez 21, J Dawson 20, K Cairns 12, A O’Sullivan 6, P Cami Galera 6.

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

EMPORIUM: C O’Sullivan, R O’Sullivan, A O’Sullivan, K Cairns, D Corkery, H Murphy A O’Connor, J Dawson, S O’Flynn, P Cami Gallera, C Blount, L O’Sullivan, P Lucey.

Referees: J Dooley (Portlaoise), E Perry (Dublin), C Whyte (Dublin).

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more