Eagles young star Eddie Matthew has just excelled in England’s win over Ireland in the Celtic Summer Slam.
Ireland U17 Boys v England U17 Boys
Ireland 57 England 63
The Celtic Summer Slam 2013 got off to a rip-roaring start as the Irish and English U17 men’s squads played out a thrilling opening game at the National Basketball Arena.
In the end, it was the visitors from England who came out on top after a back and forth encounter that thrilled the engaged crowd in attendance.
A frenetic start to the game settled when English captain Liam Carpentor knocked down and open jumper two minutes into the contest.
It took Ireland almost four minutes of play to register their first score, a bank shot by big man Oisin Kerlin, who was already proving a dominant force on both sides of the floor, having earlier registered an eye-catching block.
England were definitely the quicker team to start however and the speed of Marcus Welsh and Jo Swindle caused Ireland some early headaches.
Ireland only truly got going when they received a much needed spark off the bench in Sean Candon, who connected on five quick points, dragging the boys in green back to within one at quarter’s end.
As the game found its rhythm, both teams traded baskets.
It was case mostly of both defences being on top with a low scoring first half, which finished up 30 to 25 in favour of the boys in green. That small gap for Ireland earned through a Charlie Coombes buzzer beating three to end quarter two.
One of the most promising things from that first half for the Irish management would have been how well their players had handled the speedy English full court pressure, advancing the ball comfortable the vast majority of possessions.
Worringly though Kerlin picked up a third foul after less than two minutes of the second half. He would pick up a fourth later in the quarter, leaving coach O’Malley with some tough rotation decisions.
The impact was hard to see at first however as despite Kerlin’s absence for much of the third, Ireland played some great defence that forced a series of turnovers.When Sean Flood hit a three pointer with 6 minutes left in the quarter, the home team found themselves suddenly up 12 and in control of the momentum.
The National Basketball Arena was rocking before England finally stopped the rot with a two from Eddie Matthews that settled the visitors.
It was mostly back and forth then to end the quarter, with Matthews coming more and more into the game, dragging the game back to single digits before a late Irish push had the lead at ten again to end quarter three.
England’s captain Liam Carpentor then took matters into his own hands, driving effectively early in the fourth, a tactic that definitely helped England thin the Irish lead, getting back to within four with seven minutes remaining in the contest.
Despite the English run Ireland continued to play stingy defence and, helped on in no small way by a willing crowd of supporters, looked the best bet to win.
A huge turning point came when Kerlin fouled out on an offensive foul while jumping for a rebound and spurred on by his departure, England cut further into the deficit before tying up affairs with five minutes remaining.
The teams traded a run each after that, leaving the score deadlocked at 57 with two minutes remaining.
With one of the final attacks of the game England stormed down the court, Carpentor drove the lane, scoring as he was fouled. He converted the three point play at the free throw line, a possession that proved decisive Ireland failed to convert on their next possession and after a good defence, could not secure the rebound. As a result, they had to foul England to stop the clock and with the visitors making their charity shots, the game was sealed.
England eventually won on a final scoreline of 57 to 63.