Ireland produced a brilliant performance to beat Malta 97-66 and lift the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries trophy at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin on Sunday.

John Carroll and Jordan Blount were Ireland’s top scorers on the night, with 20 and 17 points respectively. Their consistent performances throughout the week also saw them named on the tournament All-Star team.

It took Ireland two minutes to register their first points, a Carroll jump shot. The first quarter was played at a frantic pace after that, Sean Flood’s three-point jump shot bringing the game level at 8-8.

A Ciaran Roe three-point jump shot in the final minute of the quarter made it 23-15, before one of Malta’s leading lights, Tevin Falzon, reduced arrears by two with a layup.

Ireland opened the second quarter with a Will Hanley a three-point jump shot within 15 seconds, but Malta responded with eight unanswered points to make it a one point game, 26-25.

John Carroll in action against Tevin Falzon.

Malta’s scoring run was ended by a lovely three-point jump shot from Flood, who picked up 12 points by half-time. Will Hanley was also catching the eye, with seven points, two rebounds and one assist by the break, as Ireland led 51-32.

The momentum was with the Irish. Midway through the third quarter a three-point jump shot from the corner by CJ Fulton had Ireland 66-38 up.

Malta narrowed that gap, with Alec Felice Pace getting eight points in the quarter, while the Falzon brothers, Tevin and Aaron, continued to pose a threat, however Ireland held a 73-54 advantage going into the final quarter.

Ireland kept their composure in the fourth quarter. Carroll’s dunk just under two and a half minutes in was greeted with raucous cheers from the Irish bench, as Ireland’s lead was now 21 points, 79-58.

Neil Randolph finished off the game in style with a three-point jump shot in the closing seconds as Ireland rounded out a 97-66 win.

"Unreal, absolutely delighted," said Ireland head coach Mark Keenan afterwards.

"We pulled off another great performance this evening. The guys are superb, I think they’re all MVPs there. They all sacrificed minutes for the good of the team and that is how we won the tournament, hats off. The rest of my staff, absolutely super."

Ireland: CJ Fulton (5), Ciaran Roe (5), Kyle Hosford (2), Sean Flood (16), Lorcan Murphy (10), Neil Randolph (3), Adrian O’Sullivan (7), Jordan Blount (17), Eoin Quigley (1), Will Hanley (7), John Carroll (20), Jason Killeen (4).

Malta: Jack Zammit (6), David Bugeja (DNP), Alec Felice Pace (10), Peter Shoults (5), Matthew Scerri (0), Nathan Xuereb (6), Tevin Falzon (17), Ian Felice Pace (10), Aaron Falzon (13), Kurt-Joseph Xuereb (9), Kurt Cassar (DNP), Phillip Engelbert (0).