Eanna secure U18 National Cup in fantastic style against Phoenix
Éanna head coach Ciarán O’Sullivan said that a strong defensive showing was the key behind his side’s magnificent 68-48 success over Phoenix in the U18 Billy Coffey National Cup final at Neptune Basketball Club in Cork yesterday evening.
After initially being put under pressure by the Belfast outfit in the opening quarter, the Ballyroan men turned the screw and had moved ahead in time for the half-time break.
Strong tallies from Nathan Comerford and Cathal O’Sullivan also proved crucial, but limiting the scoring power of their northern counterparts helped to ensure they returned to the capital with top honours.
“It’s absolutely massive. Thrilled for the lads. It was a great game and Phoenix really put it up to us. A really, really good side. They pushed right until the end, but absolutely thrilled for the lads and all the travelling supporters from Dublin. A fantastic day,” O’Sullivan acknowledged when speaking to Basketball Ireland’s social media channels in the aftermath of the game.
“Really good intensity on defence. I think we battled really hard on the defensive end right to the end. We kept a very good Phoenix team to less than 50 points. Really happy with the defensive effort from the lads.
“They play it right to the final buzzer and very aggressive on offence as well. Really good intensity, I think that won it out for us in the end.”
While O’Sullivan and his assistant Darren McGovern – the head coach of their Super League team – draw players from a number of areas, a large bulk of their squad were also part of the Coláiste Éanna side that won the U19 ‘A’ All-Ireland Schools League at the beginning of this month.
Eventual MVP Comerford shone brightly for them during the early exchanges, but Phoenix did enough to lead 23-18 at the end of the opening quarter. Nonetheless, Éanna maintained their composure and subsequently took control when the action resumed.
Cathal O’Sullivan came into his own and combined to good effect with the aforementioned Comerford. 37-29 to the good moving into the third-quarter, Éanna never looked back from that point.
O’Sullivan showcased his attacking prowess throughout and ended the contest with 25 points to his name. Although himself and Comerford ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over, their work out possession was superb in the closing 30 minutes of the play.
Viktor Lovic’s interior defence denied Phoenix easy access into the scoring zone and – as a result – Éanna were able to ease themselves over the line in the end.