GRAND HOTEL MALAHIDE 86
ULSTER UNIVERSITY 74
GRAND Hotel Malahide are really enjoying their inaugural season in the National League so far and Sean Ingle’s talented side made it two wins from two thanks to a 12-point victory over Ulster University last Saturday.
The Fingal side had a dream start to life in the National League as they cruised to a 109-53 victory against LYIT in week one, but this was always going to be a tougher test against a pacy and skilful Ulster University outfit.
Romond Jenkins enjoyed a fruitful debut for Grand Hotel Malahide, scoring 16 points against LYIT, and he was at it again against Ulster University, scoring early to give the hosts the lead.
Ulster University’s Conor O’Sullivan is one of the best talents in Division 1 and he showed why he is rated so highly with two scores in quick succession to give the visitors a lead.
The experienced Kevin Foley was looking very lively during the first quarter and a fine three-pointer from distance put his side back in front.
The game was real end to end stuff now, with both sides seemingly scoring from every attack, and the first quarter ended with Tariq Guebaili putting Malahide’s noses back in front with a shot from close range.
The second quarter saw Grand Hotel Malahide flex their muscles as they began to get on top, with Foley and Guebaili in particular causing all sorts of problems for the Ulster defence.
A Sean Daly basket put six points between the teams before Matty Rooney mad it nine with a fine three-pointer from distance.
However, Conor O’Sullivan was proving difficult to contain and it was his scores that were just about keeping Ulster University in touch when Malahide were threatening to pull away.
A two-pointer on the buzzer from Kevin Foley extended Malahide’s lead to ten points, with the scoreboard reading 49-39 to the home side as the teams took a break for half-time.
The third quarter was much like the first, with both sides showing some excellent accuracy and scoring with almost every attack.
Conor O’Sullivan brought up his 25th point of the match with a fine three from distance which got Ulster back to within six of their hosts. However, scores from Kevin Foley and Tariq Guebaili kept Malahide in the box seat and ensured that they remained ten points ahead going into the game’s final quarter.
Ulster University scored the opening two scores of the final period and now the pressure was really beginning to fall on the home side. However, they responded well, scoring three times without reply which would have pleased coach Sean Ingle.
The league new boys were playing like grizzled old veterans as they re-established their ten point lead and regained control of the match.
The excellent Conor O’Sullivan would finish up with 34 points, but unfortunately for the visitors it would not be enough as Malahide cruised towards an eventual twelve point victory, with Foley and Guebaili top scorers for the hosts with 19 points apiece.
Next up for Grand Hotel Malahide is a home cup tie against Sligo at the end of the month.
Meanwhile in the Ladies Division 1 Swords Thunder fell to their first defeat of the season as they lost to Ulster University 70-63.
Ulster University led from the start and finished the opening quarter 19-15 in front.
Swords looked much better in the second quarter and reduced the visitors lead to a single point, 33-32. Unfortunately the students found another gear in the third quarter, extending their lead to five points, and despite a great effort late on the home side just couldn’t reel the visitors in.