Nate Moore lays up the ball for Ireland against Armenia
Limerick's Nate Moore helped Ireland U-18 men’s basketball team make it two wins from two in Kosovo this afternoon as they drove home to a comprehensive 96-64 point win over Armenia in their second game of the FIBA Under 18 European Championship Division C.
This evening’s win follows on from their opening game win over Malta yesterday afternoon and sees the Irish in a good place ahead of their third group game against Monaco tomorrow.
Ireland took the reins of the game early on, with huge scoring across the board from Crescent College and Limerick Lions' Nathan Moore, Matt Harper and Darragh O’Sullivan sending them into an early 31-13 point lead at the end of the first quarter. Armenia got up with the pace of the game in the second quarter, and began to put some good scores up. Big defensive pressure from the Irish stifled their run somewhat, and Paul Kelly, James Connaire and Cillian O’Driscoll added scores to see Ireland lead by ten points at the half time break, 45-35.
The boys in green laid down a firm statement of intent in the third quarter though, with Kelly, Moore and O’Sullivan netting some huge scores to drive Ireland further into the lead. Eoin Nelson and David Murray chipped in with some great baskets under the boards and, by the end of the third, the Irish looked comfortable, 78-52 points ahead.
A big final quarter followed, as the Irish kept the intensity high, and Nelson, O’Driscoll and O’Sullivan all delighted fans with some big dunks home. Despite the best efforts of Armenia, the Irish had too much in the tank, and drove home to win out 96-64 in the end.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Paul Kelleher stated: “That was sensational – that’s the only word for it, those last 17 minutes were absolutely sensational. It was a much better performance than yesterday.
“We’ve a huge game now tomorrow against Monaco now tomorrow – if we win that, we are guaranteed a semi-final spot. It’s not going to be easy though, we have seen them here and we knew before we got here that they were going to be tough, so hopefully we’ll come out with another win.”
Games continue in Kosovo tomorrow, with Ireland facing Monaco at 1.30pm Irish time.