Ireland men’s basketball side fall short to Austria in Tallaght
There was disappointment for the Ireland senior men’s basketball team at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Sunday as they suffered a 97-70 reversal at the hands of Austria in their second game of Group A in the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers.
Following their 81-73 defeat of Cyprus in Nicosia on Thursday, this was always expected to be a step up in quality for the Irish. The Austrians are ranked 61st in the world – all of 46 places above Ireland – and showcased their class throughout the contest.
Nevertheless, Ireland did have some encouraging spells and with one point separating them from Austria at the summit, they remain in the mix for progression to the next phase of the qualification process.
Next up for them will be an away trip to Switzerland on 24 February, followed by a return to Tallaght against Cyprus three days later.
In addition to head coach Mark Keenan and assistant coach Lawrence ‘Puff’ Summers, Griffith College Templeogue are represented in this Irish set-up by Lorcan Murphy and Stephen James.
Kingswood native Sean Flood – who, coincidentally, plays his club basketball in Cyprus with Omonia Nicosia – also featured and was one of Ireland’s brightest performers on the night.
As well as accumulating 12 points, he also clocked in with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. John Carroll was the home team’s scorer-in-chief with 23 points, while Taiwo Badmus chipped in with 21 points.
The latter had edged Ireland ahead inside the opening 30 seconds and while the visitors inevitably settled, a superb slam dunk from Murphy ensured Keenan’s charges remained in touch. Yet despite the best efforts of Carroll, the Irish trailed 28-13 at the end of the first quarter.
It was beginning to look ominous for the hosts but, building on the character shown in their recent triumph at the European Championship for Small Countries, they roared back into the reckoning.
With Carroll and Flood coming to the fore in a big way, Ireland were just two points adrift (43-41) at half-time having briefly reduced their deficit to the bare minimum.
While this set up a tantalising second half, Austria subsequently flexed their muscles. Thanks to some eye-catching efforts courtesy of Thomas Klepeisz and Bogic Vujosevic, they were 73-50 to the good in advance of the closing quarter.
A brace of three-pointers from the excellent Badmus gave Ireland some hope as did a similar contribution by Jordan Blount. Still, Austria were able to pick off scores at regular intervals and eased their way to victory in the end.