Red-hot Limerick Celtics prove too strong for young Portlaoise Panthers

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Red-hot Limerick Celtics prove too strong for young Portlaoise Panthers

The Portlaoise Panthers U-14 girls team were edged out by Tullamore.

Limerick Celtics powered their way to a 12 point win over Portlaoise Panthers on Sunday with an spectacular display of shooting in St Marys Hall.

Portlaoise Panthers 83

Limerick Celtics 95

The visitors brought a touch of Spain to the Midlands with two highly impressive Spanish players on show as well as the impressive American Turrell Morris. It proved a little too much on this occasion but again will prove to be a valuable learning experience for the very young Portlaoise squad.

Games like this will stand to Panthers as they develop over the next couple of seasons. It's really impressive what Panthers are doing with this young home grown core of talent and clubs like Portlaoise, who are laying their trust in their young stars, are sure to grow into a permanent fixture in the league and hopefully a consistent powerhouse.

The game started at an electric pace as Kyle Burke opened the scoring as he regularly does with a free throw after slicing his way to the hoop. Mantas Vilimas hit a jumper from twelve feet before Celtics opened their account with a big three from experienced point guard Hernandez.

Turrell Morris was fouled as he bullied his way to the rim and put away his first two free throws. Limerick hit another three before Morris hit four big shots on the trot, most of them with a hand in his face or falling off balance.

Hernandez hit a second three as Celtics nailed six shots in total from downtown in the quarter.

The highly impressive Liam Kinsella hit two massive three’s of his own before the end of the quarter but a string of very questionable refereeing decisions upset the flow of the game and Panthers trailed 18-31 at the end of the first quarter.

Panthers struggled as the inconsistent refereeing continued in the second quarter and Limerick Celtics were ruthless in their offensive execution. They put on a masterclass in shooting and blew Panthers away in the quarter.

Hernandez, Morris and Hehir were to the fore for the visitors as Portlaoise struggled to stay in touch. Limerick led 59-34 at the break and were good for their money. This is a highly impressive Limerick Celtics outfit.

A much improved Panthers effort in the second half saw James Phelan, Dylan Dunne and Liam Kinsella begin to make inroads into the Celtics lead. Phelan was very impressive as he hounded Hernandez on defence and finished in his own indomitable style after repeatedly scything his way to the basket.

Kinsella had his best game of the season as he pressurized Morris defensively as well as contributing 17 impressive points in the game. Celtics continued to nail absolutely everything they shot though and continued to stretch their lead. Celtics led by 32 points heading into the last quarter.

A very impressive final quarter saw Panthers roar back into the game as Kinsella, Dunne, Phelan, Mike Pierre and Eddy Rosenkovas put in displays full of guts and pride. Panthers got the lead back to 10 at one point but it was a little too late to change the course of the game.

It gave a glimpse of what these kids can do though once they learn from these experiences and bring more consistency to their game. This was a highly impressive Celtics team and their three imported players proved the difference in the game.

It does give them a big advantage over teams like Portlaoise with one imported player. Portlaoise continue to add strings to their bows though even in defeat and their never say die attitude is to be applauded.

Team: James Phelan, Gary Morrissey, Pierce Bolger Hinds, James Gormley, Sean Condon, Liam Kinsella, Kyle Burke, Jack Dooley, Dylan Dunne, Mike Pierre, Conor Byrne, Ed Rosenkovas, Mantas Vilimas, Rian O Connell, Shane Buggie, Trevor Swayne

Upcoming Games

National League Mens Presidents Cup
Wednesday 24th October: Carlow IT vs Portlaoise Panthers. Barrow Centre Carlow @ 8pm