Moycullen take pole position in basketball league

Cian Nihill scores in An Cearnog Nua, Moycullen's latest victory over St Paul’s Killarney at the weekend.

Cian Nihill scores in An Cearnog Nua, Moycullen's latest victory over St Paul’s Killarney at the weekend.

An Cearnog Nua, Moycullen, capped a great weekend on Sunday in the Kingfisher NUIG sports centre when they comfortably accounted for last year’s league winners, Tolka Rovers on a 74-57 scoreline.

Having lost their previous two encounters with their Dublin rivals, Moycullen were determined not to slip to a third defeat to the same opposition, and, led by their excellent pair of ex-u-20 internationals, Cian Nihill and Garnett Griffin, they totally dominated their opponents in a comprehensive victory.

Next up is a cup encounter on Saturday at 4pm in NUIG with last season’s cup winners, UCD/Marian, and Moycullen will be hoping to continue their momentum and add another victory to their recent strong run at home.

Sunday’s win over Tolka Rovers was the second of a weekend double-header in which Moycullen recorded a comfortable 71-53 victory over ex-Superleague side St Paul’s Killarney.

The game was never a classic, spoilt by some over-fussy refereeing and a rather uninspired effort from the home side for much of the game, but they had enough experience and depth to record their fifth win in six games.

Killarney picked apart the lethargic home team early on and established a 13-9 lead before captain Nollaig Cunningham steadied the Moycullen ship with a pair of baskets. Cian Nihill connected on his second three of the quarter as Killarney’s zone began to creak against better Moycullen ball movement.

Moycullen stepped up their intensity in the second quarter to establish an 11- point lead, 38-27.

Despite an early three from Hynes, Moycullen missed a number of easy scoring opportunities in the third quarter, and Killarney were not much better at the other end, but Cian Nihill stamped his authority on the game in the final quarter. Nine points with a Nollaig Cunningham basket sandwiched between, ended the game as a contest.

Sunday’s encounter began in a very open fashion. Moycullen broke down the Tolka zone defence with ease, but at the other end, their normally solid defence struggled with the experienced Tolka attack.

However, led by Nihill and captain Nollaig Cunningham, they hit 26 points in the quarter to lead 26-20, and it was not until the third quarter that Moycullen found the necessary spark.

As always, it came at the defensive end as a superb team defence limited Tolka’s opportunities and prompted the Moycullen fast break, pushing them into a 58-42 lead.

That was cut to eight at the start of the final quarter before Nollaig Cunningham connected inside and Cian Nihill nailed another three-pointer to extend the lead again. This sealed the game which rolled to its inevitable conclusion.

An Cearnog Nua, Moycullen: Cian Nihill (23 ), Garnett Griffin (15 ), Mindaugus Kurcenkovas (13 ),Nollaig Cunningham (9 ), Eoghan Maxwell (5 ), Dylan Cunningham (4 ), Glenn Hynes (3 ), John Cunningham (2 ), Paul O’Brien, James Loughnane, David Lee, James Brophy. Coach: Zbigniew Mardon.

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