Club23 Panthers took on Carlow IT on Sunday evening in the first of the men’s semi finals of the Midland Cup.
With both teams sitting in the right half of the Midland League table a cracker of a game was in store. The game did not disappoint and had it all. Both teams gave it everything and the crowd were on the edge of their seats for the full forty minutes.
As the first quarter began it was clear from the start that the game would be played at a very high tempo. Portlaoise got on the board early with some great ball movement resulting in the Scully brothers finishing well.
On the other end some poor rebounding let Carlow in for some easy baskets. Benny Carroll and Jack Dooley were making the Carlow defence work very hard on the perimeter but very unlucky when a few of their shots lipped out. Both teams continued to run the floor. The first quarter ended with Club23 Panthers up 18-16.
In the second quarter Carlow slowed the game down and used their experience, John Fennelly coming back to haunt his old club with some good moves and strong finishes.
Portlaoise were struggling on offence, and scores were proving hard to come by.
Panthers only scored eight points in the quarter, Kevin Donoghue and Jack Dooley getting some good steals and finishing strong. Portlaoise went into half time down by two points.
The third quarter had it all, three pointers, fouls, technicals. Both teams really went at it and played basketball the way it should be played. Craig Scully and Kevin Donoghue continued to cause trouble for Carlow, Scully finished the game with an impressive nineteen points.
Carlow continued to cause problems on the defensive end though with Fennelly and Cardiff continuing to cause damage.
Third quarter came to an end with both team all square and everything to play for in the final ten minutes.
In the fourth quarter Carlow used all the experience they had to take this game. Brian Cardiff continued to controll everything they did. Portlaoise on the other hand were getting very unlucky around the ring. Carlow it won on a scoreline of 61 56.
It was a great game of basketball. Club23 Panthers will learn a lot from today going forward. They are still unbeaten in the league and are looking strong.
Club23 Panthers Team: Jack Scully, Craig Scully, Kevin Donoghue, Jamie Dooley, Jack Dooley, Sean O’Neill, Stephen O’Keeffe, Mark Bartley, Kyle Burke, Paul Leigh, Benny Carroll, Evan Maher.