Keenan sees his Ireland team deliver against Cyprus
Ireland head coach Mark Keenan issues instructions to Templeogue and Ireland player Lorcan Murphy

Keenan sees his Ireland team deliver against Cyprus

MARK Keenan saw his Ireland senior men’s basketball team serve up an impressive 81-73 point victory over Cyprus in their FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifier Round One game in Nicosia.

Jordan Blount led the way with a haul of 21 points, while John Carroll and Taiwo Badmus each weighed in with a further 14.

Keenan, who also coaches Men’s Super League outfit Griffith College Templeogue, saw his Ireland team make the early running as two three-point jump shots from Blount and Carroll propelled them 6-2 in front.

That advantage was stretched to eight points before Cyprus reduced their arrears to three before the close of the first quarter.

The visitors hit the turbo button in the second, opening up a 41-22 lead and Templeogue player Lorcan Murphy serving up a dunk during that impressive surge.

The hosts did manage to regain some ground and went in at the halftime break 44-31 down.

A Sotirios Manolopoulos lay-up early in the third quarter saw them bring it back to 52-42, as Ireland called a timeout.

But again Keenan’s men pushed on, with the final three points of that period registered by Ireland captain, Kyle Hosford, as they headed into the final quarter with a 66-50 point lead.

The hosts did managed to get it back to ten on a couple of occasions, but a Carroll lay-up and two more Badmus dunks helped push Ireland 72-58 up with five and a half minutes to go.

And while Cyprus never threw in the towel, Ireland saw out the game quite comfortably.

“We put Cyprus on the backfoot for the whole game, so I’m absolutely delighted with our guys and our energy” said a delighted Keenan after the match.

“We dictated a lot of that game. Of course we left the door open several times where we could have put it to bed earlier, but look, absolutely delighted how we closed it out at the end.

“Had we made our free throws it could have given us that extra bit of cushion, but I am just delighted with the performance level from everybody, great contributions all around the court and our first game back at this level and what a way to kick it off.”

Next up for Ireland will be the challenge of Austria in their second FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifier Round One match taking place at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday at 5pm.

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