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Austrian defeat all but dashes Ireland’s European hopes

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Ireland's Taiwo Badmus in action against Austria. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

Ireland's Taiwo Badmus in action against Austria. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

Ireland's Taiwo Badmus in action against Austria. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

IRELAND suffered a 92-66 defeat to Austria in Salzburg to all but dash Ireland’s hopes of European Championship qualification.

Cyprus’s shock 71-63 win over Switzerland yesterday makes it mathematically possible for Ireland to progress against the Swiss in their final game.

However, qualification seems highly unlikely given Ireland’s inferior points difference.

Preparations for last night’s clash were upset when newly-appointed captain John Carroll was ruled out after an ACL tear in training.

Although they missed Carroll’s firepower, Taiwo Badmus kept them in touch in the first quarter when he shot eight of his 15 points.

And a solid defensive show saw Ireland finish the first quarter 23-22 behind and keep Austria’s 7ft 1in Jakob Poltl of the San Antonio Spurs scoreless until deep into the second period.

They failed to keep that momentum and Austria powered their way to a 51-35 lead by half-time – a gap that only widened.

“It was a tough defeat after such a bright start. We were right in the game, but to be fair, they (Austria) shot the lights out again tonight, as they did in Dublin,” coach Mark Keenan said to TG4 afterwards.

“Before the start of the game, we said we were going to give them something and it was that weak side three and they made it all night.”

Ireland’s final game is against the Swiss, who must triumph to ensure they advance, in the National Basketball Arena on Sunday. 

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