Action from today's semi final. Pic: FIBA.com
There was huge disappointment for the Ireland Under 18 men’s basketball team and Limerick's Nate Moore this evening as they lost out 69-55 to tournament hosts Kosovo in the semi-final of the FIBA U18 European Championship Division C.
The loss means that Ireland will now do battle for a bronze medal tomorrow (Sunday, July 29th) against Monaco.
Despite some fantastic patches of play from the boys in green, Kosovo just had too much strength and size down the stretch and dominated under the boards at both ends of the court to score some vital second chance scores in the paint. The Irish were also dealt a huge blow just before half time, as star point guard, Paul Kelly picked up an injury to rule him out of the remainder of the game.
Speaking afterwards head coach Paul Kelleher stated: “We knew it was going to be tough in front of a hostile crowd, but our boys played some really great basketball out there. The one thing they had over us was their size and physicality and that’s what beat us. They didn’t play great basketball, but we just didn’t have the size to match them on the glass.
“I thought our lads gave everything, a couple of shots didn’t drop for us, and it was a tough outing - one of those match ups where we couldn’t get going. Losing Paul Kelly just before half time was very tough for us. We’ll bounce back though and have a rattle for a medal tomorrow.”
Ireland now faces the losers of the Cyprus and Monaco semi-final (currently ongoing) in a bronze medal play off on Sunday, July 29th. The confirmed fixture for this game will be posted on the Basketball Ireland website (www.basketballireland.ie) later this evening.
IRELAND: Paul Kelly, Jay Kavanagh, Nathan Moore, James Connaire (4), Cillian O’Driscoll (5), David Murray (5), Eoin McCann (17), Darragh O’Sullivan (17), Oisin Rice (2), Conor Liston (3), Matt Harper, Eoin Nelson (2).