The Redland Bulldogs lived up to their moniker elegantly yesterday when they battled tenaciously individually and collectively to Win The Paddy Ryan Memorial Trophy played out to enthralled fans at The O Loughlin Gaels Sports Complex in Kilkenny City as they defeated newely promoted to Ireland,s Superleague The Dublin Thunder on a scoreline of 91 to 75.Now from a coaching stance I,m all for strategy that makes the best of what you,ve got and The Bulldogs certainly did this with a seriously disengaging often full court pressure and help defence that put quite simply never allowed opponents in any of their three games to play with composure concentration and confidence.Couple this to a really well conditioned team both physically and mentally and you have the components for real success.The Bulldogs opener versus hosts Team Left Bank Kilkenny saw them start as they obviously planned to finish by using their speed quickness and endurance to take the game to their opponents and keep it there in their opponents half for as long as possible the outcome of which most often than not was a relieved offence simply for getting the ball over the half way line though now with the clock running down and opponents guards over-stressed from having to carry the bulk of the phychological workload.In fairness to Kilkenny they never dropped their heads despite the scoreline running 15 plays 7 17/11, 19/11, 23/11, and to finished at 69 plays 24.Kilkenny though with ex Superleague Winner with Waterford Crystal guard Dean Kavanagh and guard Julian O Keeffe who certainly talent wise were up to Redlands level would have benefitted more having the bigger inside players with better level ball handling and finishing skills at least close to the basket, conditioning too physically would have made a considerable difference though that,s what you get practising 2/3 times / week as opposed to every day and twice a day.The Kilkenny followers though were fully appreciative of the efforts put forward by their team and with this the House -full sign can be expected to be seen when Kilkenny play Blue Demons in their Div 1 opener in a 10 game home schedule in October . Game 2 saw Ballon BC play also newely promoted to superleague play Dublin thunder and as was to be expected seeing the strength of the teams in the warm ups The Thunder won convincingly at 61 to 37.The Thunder on their showing this weekend are quite capable of making an immediate impact at superleague level though it remains to be seen what the true picture can become until teams actually state their named teams for the season.The Thunder in this their opener had good balance with their guards and relatively speaking big men inside allowing substituting after the first quarter with the momentum and game under their control.
The third game pitched Redlands with Dublin Inter (Ballons 1st team) and it in terms of deciding who,d progress or not was critical.The contrasting via East versus West in terms of basketball styles was the hallmark of this game with Inter being more direct and staid in their approach whereas the U.S.A. team were at least on the surface more emotionally involved and self expressive in their play.Inter it must be said though did possess that winning attitude to a man and their tough uncomprimising attitude meant the Americans were put to the pin of their collar to eventually win it at 51 plays 47.Jim Ducey earned his corn with this one on the line in the third quarter impressing on his charges the value of what was at stake in a similar vein to how Isaw The USA team of under 20,s compete at the 2006 Albert Schweitzer Tournament at Mannheim Germany.Ducey,s team duly responded in what to a certain extent as the tournament was their final. Game 4 Dublin Thunder 80 against Castleisland,s 55 points with St Mary,s Andrew Fitzgerald now in the best shape of his life at 30 years of age hitting 26 and playing defence that would have me starting him on any Superleague team at the minute (providing of course he comes through maherprobasket,s teamsystem player evaluation process).
Game 5 Dublin Inter 51 / Team Left Bank kilkenny 49. ....Game 6 Castleisland 66 / Ballon BC 60.
Game 6 the Final : Wearing my coach,s hat and having seen practically every shot, rebound, foul and heard the oooh,s and ahhh,s of a highly entertained fan contingent from early in the day being at the venue literally before the first team arrived my initial thoughts on writing up my usual pre game personalised "skinny" I asked myself "Pat ! What are the deciding factors here likely to be" next I listed them 1.Are the older and in 3/4 instances physically stronger Thunder,s players likely to be be able to gain some mometum early and maintain it to give themselves a shot at winning ?. 2. Do the thunder have the energy to stay with The Bulldogs given the intensity on defence the bulldogs have displayed up to this point ?. 3.Can the Bulldogs win enough boards to get the quick breaking points they are used to scoring to give themselves the leverage they need with what is practically a bit of a gamble even with the top level teams. The answers as they unfolded were irrelevant to a degree as the quality of the bench players dictated the final outcome with the Thunder unable or unwilling to an extent to risk putting guys on the floor who up to this stage were quite capable of playing a positive contributing role and this scenario was evident really early in the opening quarter when The Thunder,s "Big 3" inside players simply had to come out for a breather. (In fairness to The Thunder this scenario is unlikely at the minute to be a diminishing factor in terms of their Superleague aspirations this season).Westbrooks up to the final few minutes to give him his due was able to run the game in a way where if his teamates (and I have seen him do this with the Senior Men,s National team) had the ability to dominate the floor and create passing lanes / opportunities he is quite capable of making those passes with his perimeter scoring threat a plus for himself too, though he could use a quicker step to give himself that triple threat game with a higher level of legetimacy.Bulldogs coaching staff played this one out not unlike an elaborate chess game allowing Thunder to get close but not too close again and again and again until finally and I could see it etched on the thunder,s faces an expression of "Well ! What do we have to do here against these guy.s".The final scoreline again of 91 to 75 was probably a fair reflection and a just outcome for all the efforts The Bulldogs must have put in to get in the shape they are in. Tournament sponsors : www.aib.ie, www.basketballireland.ie, www.kbowlkk.ie, www.leftbank.ie, www.firecentre.ie, www.kingsize.ie, www.arklowbay.com, www.springhillcourt.com, www.clonmelpark.com,www.greenisle.com
Congratulations to Kilkenny BC on running a very successful tournament.
Dean Kavanagh (183-G-84)
Donaghy the star as Tralee Warriors crowned Men's Champions Trophy champions - 22 days ago
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Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) was the star of the show in Letterkenny today as Tralee swooped home to glory and scooped the silverware in the final of the Basketball Ireland Men's Champions Trophy. It was a thrilling finale in Donegal as Donaghy drove down the court and laid the ball up in style to send another epic battle with Regular Season champions, Templeogue, to overtime (66-66). That last gasp bucket was just one story of many that can be told from today's game, with Jason Killeen (2... [read more]
Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) was the star of the show in Letterkenny today as Tralee swooped home to glory and scooped the silverware in the final of the Basketball Ireland Men's Champions Trophy. It was a thrilling finale in Donegal as Donaghy drove down the court and laid the ball up in style to send another epic battle with Regular Season champions, Templeogue, to overtime (66-66). That last gasp bucket was just one story of many that can be told from today's game, with Jason Killeen (211-C-85, college: Augusta) shining brightest for Templeogue in one of the closest Men's Super League clashes of the year. The story, however, lies with Tralee and the glory of their achievement and it is one that will be told for many years to come. From Donaghy to Trae Pemberton (193-G-92, college: Maryville, MO) - a guard who has dazzled for the Kingdom throughout the season - to Goran Pantovic (208-F-91, college: Drexel), the team worked as a unit throughout and managed to hold on in the dying seconds to add another page to the history books. It was Pemberton who stepped up to the mark with 7.8 seconds on the clock in overtime as they trailed Templeogue 73-70 and as hearts dropped around the court when his first effort did not find the mark, Donaghy was on hand for the offensive rebound to feed Pemberton once more and he made no mistake second time of asking to tie it yet again, 73-73. With double overtime looming, Donaghy had the final say of the game, adding a free throw in the dying seconds and it was with bated breath for all of Kerry as they watched the clock tick down in agonizing fashion. Courtesy of: basketballireland.ie
Templeogue and Tralee reach Champions Trophy Final - 23 days ago
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Templeogue and Tralee Warriors advanced into the Champions Trophy Final. They earned victories in the respective semifinals on Saturday. Tralee Warriors nipped Swords Thunder 66:64. Trae Pemberton (193-G-92, college: Maryville, MO) provided 24 points and 8 rebounds to pace the winners. The Warriors jumped to a 36:27 halftime lead. Swords Thunder went on a determined comeback rally in the final period but came up short at the end. Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) and Ricardo Leonard (201-C-70,... [read more]
Templeogue and Tralee Warriors advanced into the Champions Trophy Final. They earned victories in the respective semifinals on Saturday. Tralee Warriors nipped Swords Thunder 66:64. Trae Pemberton (193-G-92, college: Maryville, MO) provided 24 points and 8 rebounds to pace the winners. The Warriors jumped to a 36:27 halftime lead. Swords Thunder went on a determined comeback rally in the final period but came up short at the end. Kieran Donaghy (198-G/F-83) and Ricardo Leonard (201-C-70, college: ODU) netted 13 points each in the win. Oleksandr Dolenko (191-PG-90) responded with 13 points for the Thunder. Templeogue knocked down UCD Marian 71:64 behind 21 points and 14 rebounds from Jason Killeen (211-C-85, college: Augusta). The teams went neck and neck throughout first three periods. However Templeogue used a 22:14 rally in the fourth frame to ice the win. Lorcan Murphy (182-PG-94) produced 17 points and 7 boards in the victory. Conor Meany (185-PG-86) responded with 17 points for UCD Marian. Dustan Moreira (202-F-89) chipped in 16 points in the loss.
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