Titan u-13 boys, sole Irish representatives at European basketball tournament in Gothenburg last weekend, returned home with a record of four wins and two losses.
Coached by Tomas Mitkus and managed by Simone Kiernan, the Galway youngsters strung some amazing performances together in their first international outing to advance to the semi-finals.
Having opened the tournament in fine style by beating Bislt Basket of Norway by 32 points, Titans lost the next to a tall and physically imposing Stockholm team. Requiring an eight-point victory over league leaders, Gotthenburg side KFUM, to advance, the tenacious Titans pressed the locals for the entirety, took the game to them, and won by 28 -21.
Daragh McNulty, on 20 points, was inspirational; some fine back door cuts from Thomas Togher were met with sublime passing from Matthew Sweeney. Shane Conroy and Joseph Coughlan controlled the tempo of the game and drove at the heart of the Swedish defence, while Titan's defence stood solid, supported by rock steady rebounding from Cronan Ward, David Conneely, David Bohan, and the foundation stone Aaron Kiernan. Conor Fahy and Evan Costello worked tirelessly and made some quality assists at the offensive end to beat the group leaders in style
The next morning’s game between Kongsberg Miners (Kings Mountain Miners ) and the Galway Titans showed a dramatic improvement in this Irish touring team. From the outset the Titans led with Aaron Kiernan winning the jump, Cronan Ward running long and finishing strong to the hoop. Shane Conroy, Joseph Coughlan, Conor Fahy and Mark Sheehan tortured their Norwegian counterparts as they ran out 27 - 14 to earn their place in the quarter finals against another Norwegian side, Kirlevoll BBK (Church Hill ).
In the quarter finals, Titan's full court press curtailed Kirkevoll's attacking game, while Aaron Kiernan on 19 points, Darragh McNulty on 13, Shane Conroy 8, Joseph Coughlan 8, Matthew Sweeney 6, and fine scores from Cronan Ward, David Coneelly, and David and Thomas Toher, ensured Titans won 54-14 to progress to the semi-finals against Ullern Basket of Norway.
The Galway side took a commanding early lead. Cronan ward grabbed the opener, Darragh McNulty added to the tally, while Aaron Kiernan was phenomenal on the boards. David Bohan and Conneely grew in stature with their commanding presence under the boards. Point guards Shane Conroy, and Joseph and Matthew Sweeney drove and weaved to the basket at will, but were met by enormous Norwegians when they got to the basket. It was this height differential which led to many scores being left on the ring and allowed Ullern to seek out an improbable win by four points, devastating the Titans.
The u-13s are back in action this weekend, hosting their own tournament at the Westside Galway.