Portlaoise Panthers U-16 Boys played hosts in the first round and got their campaign off to a winning start against a very young Clonaslee side.
The home side got the best possible start with five baskets inside from captain Andrew Meehan with Conor O’Donovan also chipping in with some well worked scores. Clonaslee fought hard to get back in the game but the Panthers defence was physically superior with some great rebounding from Daniel Wolski. Clonaslee defended much better in the second half but failed to capitalise on offence and Panthers closed out the game with great control from the top of the key by Conor Whalley and Sean Curtin.
Portlaoise’s second game of the day saw them come up against the more experienced Kildare Gliders. Strong play from Andrew Meehan, Patrick Critchley and Daniel Wolski kept the game tight for the first quarter but the team’s lack of game time together saw them struggle as they game developed. Gliders ran out winners but Portlaoise can be very happy with their overall performance and can look forward to testing the very best in the division as the rounds progress.
Portlaoise Boys U-16 Team: Barry Mc Nicholl, Conor O’Donovan, Conor Whalley, Tom Healy, Patrick Critchley, Colin Fitzpatrick, Andrew Meehan, Pauric Tierney, James Spillane, Daniel Wolski, Sean Curtin, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jack Duffin, Conor Smith. Coach: Shane O’Neill.
Portlaoise Panthers U-16 girls started their new season off by travelling to Clonaslee last weekend where they were unfortunately defeated by local rivals Clonaslee and a very strong Athlone team.
In the early morning game Clonaslee lead at the break and while Portlaoise started the second half strongly, Clonaslee were quick to react and scored a number of baskets and at the final whistle the score was 31-21.
In their second game of the day Portlaoise took on Athlone. This proved to be a very physical encounter from start to finish each team never getting to far ahead they matched each other basket for basket. There were great personal performances in this game from Cliodhna Nic Ghearalit, Jennifer O’ Shea and Naomi Kelly.
This time around Athlone finished stronger with a final score 42-29, but the teams are due to meet again later in the season and it should be another great game.
Portlaoise Girls U-16: Gillian Hannigan, Sarah Preston, Sarah Phelan, Shauna Harrington, Jennifer O’Shea, Ellen Healy, Allana Doheny, Brianna McCann, Naomi Kelly, Cliodhna Nic Ghearalit, Maeve Mannion, Muireann McCann.xx