Moycullen missed out on a golden opportunity to advance to their first national semi-final when they lost to UCD Marion 69-59 in Saturday’s SuperLeague Cup quarter final in Leitir Móir.
With just a minute and a half remaining, a huge three-pointer from Salva Camps had the Sportlann Mhichael Moir rocking as Moycullen shortened the lead Marian had held all game to just three points.
A superb defensive effort followed, but a foul allowed Marian to convert two of the three free shots which gave them a five point lead and the sufficient cushion to see out the tie.
Moycullen, forced to line out without their top scorer and professional American player Pat Sullivan who was ruled out for the cup game due to a concussion the previous week, had played an exceptional game to that point. But Moycullen’s problems had began earlier when player coach Salva Camps was delayed, missing the entire first quarter as well as much of the second. It was during that time the game was won as Marian built up a double digit advantage and Moycullen’s younger players struggled to reach the intensity levels required in the cup.
It was by no means one way traffic, however, and good scoring from Cian Nihill kept Moycullen close. The arrival of Camps inspired the Galway outfit to chip away at the deficit before Moycullen took over in the second. Crucially, however, they could never get their noses in front and Marian left Leitir Móir deserving winners on the day.
Despite the defeat, this was one of Moycullen’s best performances, and they must now refocus on the league and back-to-back fixtures with Dublin Inter, first away this Friday before welcoming them to NUI Galway on Saturday December 22.
It was not all bad news for Moycullen with the u-18 team, comprising six SuperLeague squad members, pulled off a stunning cup quarter-final win away from home against a heavily fancied KUBS team in Dublin.
The team can now look forward to an enticing National Cup semi-final in the middle of January against one of the kingpins of Irish basketball, Neptune.
Moycullen: Cian Nihill 22, Salva Camps 13, Stephen Tummon 8, Paul O’Brien 5, James O’Brien 4, Nollaig Cunningham 4, Dylan Costello 3, Paddy Lyons, Mark Rohan.