Talpau rises to decide derby
Paul's star inspires win over local rivals Fintan's
Alex Talpau turned in a big game for St Paul's as they saw off the challenge of neighbours St Fintan's in last Thursday's 19A Cup boys round-two clash in Sutton.
Talpau showed his mettle as he downed some crucial free-throws and in the process silencing a very vocal Fintan's support who turned out in numbers.
Talpau's ability has not gone unnoticed abroad where he was recruited by the Plymouth Basketball academy in 2013. Also on the Irish under-17 development panel in 2012, Talpau seems headed for big things in the future.
He was ever present throughout the game but some stern defence from Fintan's was to keep things tight with Stephen Allen producing a strong final quarter to bring the home side back into contention.
The early momentum, however, was with Paul's as a Ryan Donegan basket brought the Sybil Hill boys into the double figures ahead of the first time-out.
And after Talpau had converted one of his free throws, Paul's then regained possession with Kubs clubman Jack Kelly dropping in a score before Adam Lambert landed a basket from the wing to leave Paul's up 19-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Fintan's, playing a 1-3-1 formation, were able to curtail Talpau's influence to some extent in the next period with Allen coming in from the left to drop in a nice basket approaching half time.
Talpau, having drawn blank from a series of up-court visits, finally broke his duck with two successful free-throws. Fintan's though, were offered hope just before half time when Allen shot a two-pointer right on the buzzer, with Paul's lead now at 12 points (30-18).
But Paul's played some clever basketball in the third and, taking full advantage of the 24-second clock, were able to slow down the tempo of the game.
Nonetheless Talpau was able to draw out a series of fouls out of the Fintan's defence which yielded some important scores as Paul's increased their lead at the end of third to 13 points (40-27).
Further baskets from Talpau and Donegan was to make it a 15-point game.
Ryan Donegan also made some good defensive rebounds but the pace of Kevin Hughes down the middle was to see Fintan's finish strongly with two baskets from Ryan Byrne bringing them back into contention before Paul's ran down the clock to claim their place in the quarter-finals.
St Fintan's HS: Ryan Byrne (13 pts), Peter Hoy, Bill O Shafi, Kevin Hughes, Robert Finnegan, Robert Dixon, Ryan Lawlor, Sean Sweeney, Patrick Bazel, Jack Pollin (6pts), Stephen Allen (11 pts), Thomas Moore
St Paul's Raheny: Ryan Donegan (9 pts), Cian Lynch, Jack Kelly (6 pts), Rob O'Meara, Alex Talpau (23 pts), Adam Lambert, Sean O Shea, Kyle Nolan, George Abebosi, Jeff Meneses, Liam Cuffe.