UCD Marian progressed to the second round of the National Cup with an emphatic victory over St Vincents, writes Matthew Morrow
UCD Marian 75 – St Vincents 49
National Cup 1st Round
UCD Marian’s Division 1 team hosted St. Vincents in the National Cup at St. Olaf’s on Wednesday evening. These were familiar foes for Marian, as both teams compete in the same league and a difficult encounter was expected.
Marian burst out of the blocks in the first quarter with a superb offensive display, with Ciaran Dunne quickly racking up a couple of two-pointers. The defensive effort was brilliant from Marian all evening, but this was highlighted best in the first quarter when they limited their opponents to only four points throughout the 12 minutes.
Marian could have been out of sight but for some missed lay-ups and solid work from the St. Vincents’ centres. Dunne was again at the heart of the Marian offense, making a three pointer and two-point rebounds. David Gilmartin and Barry Glover also took the opportunity to get their names on the scoresheet as Marian had eleven unanswered points leading up to the buzzer for the end of the first quarter.
Naturally St. Vincents had to respond in the second-quarter and duly delivered, as the three-pointers that they had missed in the first quarter started to find the basket, and they were clinical whenever they were presented with a two-point scoring play.
Marian kept the scoreboard ticking over with a two-pointer from Alan Fearon on the break and Ian Monk from a sideline ball, as St. Vincents’ point-guard landed five consecutive free throws in the space of three minutes.
UCD Marian’s discipline temporarily abandoned them as the second quarter drew to a close. However, a brilliantly finished three-pointer by Gary Edge ensured that Marian had the momentum as the first half ended, establishing a 28-20 lead over their opponents.
The third quarter was always going to be pivotal and just like the first, Marian upped the intensity and the quality of their play to establish a big lead in the game. Glover was at the forefront of this charge offensively, landing a three-pointer and three two-pointers during this quarter alone.
This was backed up by Dunne who had a couple of two-pointers, with St. Vincents’ point guard keeping them just within touching distance with a well executed three-point play. Paddy Young took this opportunity to register his first score of the night and Marian closed the quarter with a three-pointer, scored by Mark Byrne, resulting in a 52-30 lead with only one quarter to play.
The discontent was clear on the St. Vincents’ bench, with Marian pressing home their advantage at the start of the final quarter with two point plays from Monk and co-captain Glen Caulfield. A response was inevitable from Vincents, and they started to make their three-point plays count.
However further scores from Glover and Conor Lilly, who came on for the final quarter, ensured that the final section of the game was comfortable for Marian. Both sides lost their discipline a little in the final quarter, with Edge and Fearon clinical from the free throw line.
There was still time for Glover to show his class with an excellent fade-away two-pointer and Mark Hargadon scoring from the final play of the game to wrap up the victory for Marian, 75-49.
Coach Michael Clancy was delighted with the team’s performance: “St. Vincents are always a strong unit and we knew that it was not going to be easy tonight. Whilst I am delighted with the win, we have a long way to go and must make improvements in our conditioning and offensive executions.”
When asked about the most pleasing aspect of the performance he responded: “Probably our defensive strategy, and the way we played in the first and third quarters was outstanding. We were never behind in the match and that was important.”