A SHARPER Killarney proved too hot for LYIT Donegal to handle this afternoon.
LYIT Donegal 69 St Paul’s Killarney 87
By Chris McNulty at An Danlann
LYIT Donegal will reflect on an afternoon of spurned chances. In all over the four quarters, Niall McDermott’s team had 37 missed shots.
Killarney, led by Carlton Cuff, Toby Christensen and Xavier Talton, were more economical and pushed home their dominance in the second half.
The visitors, the second-placed team in Division One led 43-37 at half-time.
LYIT Donegal – fourth in the standings – led for the first time with two minutes left in the second quarter when Dom Uhl knocked in.
The lead, though, was short lived, as Cuff levelled. Again, when Uhl restored the advantage for LYIT Donegal, Killarney hit back through Christensen.
And in the last minute of the first period, Killarney added a further six points with Christensen landing a two-pointer to beat the buzzer.
It was tit-for-tat in the first quarter, with Uhl and Manny Payton keeping the hosts in touch, but already the Killarney side were showing their worth. A majestic three-pointer from Talton pointed the way while Brian O’Neill got in on the act with a beauty from the left-hand side of the court.
A large crowd again turned out at An Danlann with the howls of Storm Dennis barely even audible at court-side.
Young Killian Gribben – one of LYIT Donegal’s emerging prospects – helped a revival in the third quarter as the home team fought back.
However, a monster three-pointer by Cuff moved the visitors in front by 14 points.
Just 30 seconds into the final quarter, Payton rallied to reduce the arrears to nine.
With five minutes to go, thanks to a delightful three by Andrew McGeever, the margin was still nine and home hopes had lifted again.
But when Cuff arrowed in from a seemingly impossible position, it was curtains.
O’Neill sailed in another and the impressive Aaron Jackson helped closed out a deserved win to shorten their journey home.
LYIT Donegal reached the Presidents Cup semi-finals this season already and are firmly in the hunt for the play-offs now as McDermott’s men chase a third-placed finish.
They have little time to lick the wounds as a back-to-back weekend closes with a home game against IT Carlow tomorrow at the Foyle Arena in Derry at 3pm.
LYIT Donegal: Manny Payton 24, Dom Uhl 21, Andrew McGeever 10, Charlie McKinney 9, Killian Gribben 3, Luke Cassidy 2
Killarney: Carlton Cuff 24, Toby Christensen 19, Xavier Talton 17, Aaron Jackson 14, Brian O’Neill 6, Mick McGinn 4, Seamus Brosnan 3Tags: