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McGarrity shoots lights out

Sport
Basketball pic
LORD OF THE RINGS Ronan McGarrity of Team Merry Monk, Ballina (seen scoring here last season) was to the fore again at the Ballina Sports and Leisure Centre last weekend.

McGarrity shoots lights out

NORTHERN CONFERENCE

Merry Monk 94
Ballina
UCD Marian 80


MERRY Monk Ballina continued their winning streak in the league with another home win over UCD Marian on Saturday night last.
Merry Monk coach Terry Kennedy was pleased with the win, in which six of the Ballina team reached double figures and the entire bench featured.
“Despite our dominance throughout the game we did not shoot the ball well,” he reflected afterwards. “But I’m delighted for Ronan McGarrity, who has again top scored for us, and has played excellently for Ballina, especially in the last five or six games. We are at home to Tralee next Saturday night and we have the opportunity to get revenge over them for knocking us out of the cup. That has not been lost on the guys on the team.”
The first quarter was poor and low scoring from both sides last weekend. Ballina eventually opened their account from Ronan McGarrity following missed three-point efforts from Jay Marriott and Robert Taylor. Marian responded with the next three baskets through Papa Ba and Pat Glover, but Ballina re-established their lead and never lost it for the remainder of the game. Marian failed to capitalise on the poor shooting from Ballina with numerous turnovers. Merry Monk were leading 17-8 when Marian’s Conor Meaney hit a three-pointer on the buzzer to end the quarter 17-11.
Improved scoring from Ballina opened up a ten-point gap following a Chris Smith dunk and when Jay Marriott hit three consecutive three-pointers, Merry Monk were in cruise control. The game had the atmosphere of an exhibition game with both coaches using their entire bench before the end of the half. Despite Ballina’s dominance there was only a 12-point gap at the break, largely due to an excellent performance from Papa Ba, who scored all his points inside the paint and picked up six offensive rebounds. The half-time score was 38-26.
Papa Ba picked up his third foul ten seconds after the restart and when Conor Meaney picked up an unsportsmanlike foul on Robert Taylor, the game appeared to be over. With 5:58 remaining Ballina were pulling away following two threes by Scott Kinevane, who also scored the next two points. Paul Freeman was picking up offensive rebounds and with McGarrity and Taylor scoring big points, there was no way back for Marian. But Tony Mitchell started a mini-comeback, hitting two consecutive threes following Pat Glover’s three, and somehow Marian had reduced the gap to 61-51 with 2:26 left in the third period. Brian O’Malley hit Ballina’s sixth three-pointer of the game followed by baskets from McGarrity and Taylor to increase Ballina’s lead to 68-52. Another three-pointer on the buzzer from Marian’s Peter Finn (this one from inside his own half, applauded by the Ballina fans) left the scores 68-55 at the end of the third.
Tony Mitchell opened the final period with a three-pointer and again there were ten between the sides. Paul Freeman hit back with the next two baskets from offensive rebounds but Papa Ba was scoring at the other end for Marian to keep his team in contention. 8:32 remained when Kevin Foley reduced the gap to single figures, 70-62. This was as close as Marian got in the final period. Taylor stepped up his game,  and a slam dunk from his own steal off Niall Meaney opened up an 81-64 lead. Marriott increased this advantage to 84-64 from his fourth three-pointer with 4:47 remaining. Marian outscored Ballina 13-6 over the next three minutes of play, with Papa Ba scoring four of the baskets. But with time against them Marian fouled Ballina to stop the clock and allowed the Mayo side to finish the game from the line.
“The players are looking forward to the game next Saturday and it would be great to continue this year the league form we showed at the end of 2006,” said Terry Kennedy. “I would like to wish Shane Freeman a speedy recovery from his broken ankle, which occurred over a practice session last week. The team will miss him greatly for the end of the league campaign.”

MERRY MONK BALLINA
R McGarrity 23, R Taylor 23, J Marriott 14, C Smith 11,  P Freeman 10, S Kinevane 10, B O’Malley 3, D Marsh, D McGarrity, M Lacken.

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