U-16 BOYS DUBLIN CUP
Liffey Celtics 60
Portlaoise Panthers U-16 boys travelled to Lucan last Thursday to face a hotly favoured Liffey Celtics side.
Liffey Celtics have never been beaten in the Dublin Cup so this was always going to be an uphill task for the Portlaoise side. The big crowd in attendance were treated to a very exciting game of basketball as both sides fought for every ball and excellent shooting throughout made it very enjoyable to watch.
Portlaoise started off quickest, adopting a zone defence and focused on getting out on the break in transition. Great scores from Dylan Phelan and Trevor Swayne got the ball rolling as Portlaoise’s defence proved difficult for the Celtics side to break.
The presence of Mark Vesey, Rian O'Connell and Oisin Rice on defence meant that Portlaoise were very strong under the boards and allowed Swayne and Phelan to keep running the floor. O’Connell got his first scores of the game after good work from Vesey inside. Rice got his name on the scoresheet after he was attacking the basket on numerous occasions.
Portlaoise went into a ten-point lead as Celtics continued to struggle to break down the Portlaoise side. Jack Maguire got Celtics going as he stepped up to hit two big three-pointers when they needed it most.
The introduction of a big man inside for Celtics proved rewarding as he continued to cause trouble for Portlaoise and he picked up a few baskets of his own. The quarter ended on a very high scoring affair 24-18 in favour of Portlaoise.
The second quarter saw Celtics come out stronger as they forced Portlaoise to make some fouls which put them to the line and forced coach Peter Duignan to make some substitutions.
Niall Carey and Pierce Bolger Hinds were some fresh legs that were needed and they worked very hard on defence. Portlaoise struggled to get scores on the board but Phelan and Swayne stepped up with two big three pointers when they needed it most.
Gary Morrissey entered the game after a long spell out through injury and immediately added intensity to the team. James Phelan continued to try get on the break and forced Celtics into fouling as a result. Celtics got on top during this quarter and led at half time on a score line of 36-34.
The second half was an evenly poised affair as both began to tire and make some unforced errors. Maguire continued to make his shots from outside the arc as James Phelan kept the scoreboard ticking over for Portlaoise. A couple of baskets from Vesey and O’Connell put Portlaoise back into the lead and leave a very exciting final quarter in store.
The final quarter was end-to-end and could have gone any way but Portlaoise looked the stronger. Both teams exchanged baskets as the final minute approached. O’Connell pulled some brilliant rebounds and get some points on the board to get the lead out to three.
Celtics hit another three but it was quickly cancelled out by a great basket from Swayne as he stole the ball and finished on the other end. Dylan Phelan finished the game off with some great free throw shooting securing a famous victory for the Portlaoise side on a score line of 64-60.
The team now face Kubs in the semi-final which will be another tight affair and both teams have beaten each other in the past by the smallest of margins. The team would like to thank all the travelling supporters as it made for a great atmosphere during the game.
U-12 BOYS DUBLIN LEAGUE
Dublin Lions 28
The Portlaoise U-12 boys Basketball team travelled to play Dublin Lions last weekend in yet another Dublin League tie.
Dublin Lions hit the ground running with a few quick baskets. Portlaoise got caught with the pace of the game and it took them a long time to settle. Brochen O'Reilly and Cathal McEvoy put in some work.
Portlaoise also had good performances from Eoin Murphy and Adam Glynn but they could not put points on the score board. As the quarter came to a close Dublin Lions were in complete control with a 14 point lead despite good work from Eoin Murphy and Paul Mulhall.
The second quarter saw the introduction of new players from both teams but it was the Portlaoise boys who came out strong, thanks to good shooting from Darragh Mulhall and their ball handler Cillian O’Connell. Portlaoise were right back in the game thanks to good performances from Jack Byrne and John Hruscovschi who helped their team complete a great come back and even went on to a one point lead at the half-time break.
The second half continued much the same with the bigger and stronger Portlaoise lads controlling the game with Darragh Mulhall and Cathal McEvoy finishing with baskets. Dublin Lions, to their credit, never gave up battling for every ball but they were no match for the Portlaoise boys as they kept the score board ticking over with good shooting from Cathal McEvoy and Oisin Crossan.
In the last quarter Portlaoise continued to dominate with good work from John Hruscovschi and Jack Byrne who put in an MVP performance. Portlaoise finished the game strong and continued to put up scores from Darragh Mulhall and Brochan O'Reilly to help their team go on to a well deserved win.
Portlaoise Team: Cathal Mc Evoy (Capt), Jack Byrne (VCapt), John Hruscovschi, Oisin Crossan, Eoin Murphy, Cillian O'Connell, Brochan O'Reilly, Patrick O'Callaghan, Odhran Phelan, Patrick Fitzpatrick, Tony Walsh, Paul Mulhall, Darragh Mulhall, Adam Glynn.
GIRLS U-18 DUBLIN LEAGUE
Dunshaughlin Rockets 28
Portlaoise Panthers 62
Portlaoise Panthers U-18 girls continued their unbeaten run in all competitions on Sunday with an emphatic win over Dunshaughlin Rockets.
Following on from their excellent display in the National Cup qualifying tournament last weekend the Panthers girls faced two more games while missing some important players in both games. Portlaoise’s experience on the floor saw them progress easily past a young Rockets outfit.
Ailbhe Griffen got Portlaoise off to the perfect start with a basket off the fast break followed quickly by another from Maeve Phelan. A nervous Dunshaughlin found it hard to settle and tried hard to close out the threat posed by Claire Melia on the top of the key but this left ample space for Aishling McAuley to step in and finish under the basket.
Griffen and Phelan continued to convert on the offensive end punishing some poor passing. Portlaoise took a 18-4 lead after the first quarter.
Some quick substitutions in the second quarter allowed Rockets the opportunity to get a foothold in the game as Portlaoise struggled to get it together on defence. Scores from Megan O’Reilly and Ciara Galvin gave Rockets some hope of getting back into the game but this was quickly dashed as Emer Healy found her range from outside while Claire Melia began to dominate inside the key. Shauna Mulhall got in on the scoring near the end of the quarter before Roisin Quigley hit a half time buzzer shot to give Portlaoise a 32-11 lead at the break.
The third quarter saw Portlaoise push further ahead with Claire Melia hitting four from four at the line. Sophie Delahunt chipped in with a well taken basket while Alice Dunne got her just rewards for her hard work both ends of the floor.
Portlaoise’s defence was proving too hard to break down for Dunshaughlin who could only manage the one score in the quarter. Portlaoise were in total control taking a 52-13 lead into the final quarter.
Dunshaughlin fought to the very end in this game and came out on top of the exchanges in the final quarter. Some great inside play from Olivia Flanagan saw her rattle off seven points in a row after some fine inside play.
Sophie Delahunt continued to impress for Portlaoise as she added another two baskets and was ably assisted by Alice Dunne who notched up four points of her own in the quarter. Portlaoise ran out convincing winners in the end on a scoreline of 62-28 and were hoping to be well rested before they took on Liffey Celtics later in the day.
Liffey Celtics 51
Portlaoise Panthers 71
In their second game of the day Portlaoise Panthers were back in the Amenities Centre Leixlip for the second Sunday in succession to again take on the home side Liffey Celtics.
Portlaoise took the spoils in the final of the National Cup qualifying tournament and were hoping to double up with a second win in seven days, this time in the Dublin League. It took them a quarter to get into their stride but never looked back from then on as they had twenty points to spare over Celtics in the end.
The first quarter saw Liffey Celtics storm out in front with their Irish Internationals Sorcha Tiernan and Niamh Masterson to the fore. Portlaoise Panthers were playing well but their failure to convert left them trailing by eight midway through the quarter. Easy opportunities were missed but the correct options were been taken and it was only a matter of time before the ball started to drop.
Panthers two Internationals Claire Melia and Maeve Phelan spurred on their side as they got to the board and finish their chances well. Panthers trailed by four at the end of the quarter on a scoreline of 16-12.
Portlaoise continued to hit the Melia at the top of the key who was continuing to gather the attention of the Liffey defence which gave the Panthers guards the chance to make their mark.
Erone Fitzpatrick had the hard task of stopping Sorcha Tiernan but was also beginning to show what she can do on the offensive end as she picked up her second score of the game. With Niamh Masterson out of the game in foul trouble Claire Melia went to work down low. She netted two in a row while Maeve Phelan penetrated from the outside netting two three point plays in a row to give Portlaoise a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Claire Melia finished the quarter strong picking up offensive rebounds and putting them back up with ease. Portlaoise went into the break leading by two points.
The third quarter followed a similar pattern as the second with Portlaoise containing Celtics well on the defensive end while Phelan and Melia put the finishing touches to some great offensive play at the other end with both contributing eleven points between them.
Alice Dunne has been playing great basketball of late also and she got herself on the scoresheet after spotting the opening on the baseline. Erone Fitzpatrick has been waiting for a big offensive performance and it came just at the right time as she drained two big three pointers at the end of the quarter to give Portlaoise a nine point lead heading into the final quarter.
Liffey Celtics never say die attitude gave them the belief that they could claw back the deficit and they got the first two scores of the quarter to close the gap to four points. This would be the closest they’d come to the Panthers girls and with Masterson forced to sit out again Melia and Dunne linked up again with Dunne hitting Portlaoise’s first five points of the quarter.
It was all one way traffic from here on in as Portlaoise got to grips with the Liffey attack and limited sharp shooter Sorcha Tiernan to one basket in the quarter forcing her into some extremely difficult shots. Ailbhe Griifen got hot just at the right time coming in from the left to hit to lovely jump shots.
Portlaoise were on a roll and finished off a great team display with scores another big three pointer from Maeve Phelan. Phelan capped off an excellent performance with a further four points bringing her tally to twenty four points and giving Portlaoise Panthers a well deserved tweny point win.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Erone Fitzpatrick, Maeve Phelan, Claire Melia, Roisin Quigley, Alice Dunne, Aishling Mc Auley, Ailbhe Griffen, Shauna Mulhall, Sophie Delahunt, Emer Healy.