Moycullen Basketball Club celebrates its 50th anniversary this week with a host of activities over the weekend.
The small village, which is synonymous with basketball, has become one of the most successful nurseries in the country, while also achieving Superleague action at adult level. This weekend that team will provide the centrepiece of the action when they face Belfast Star at the Kingfisher NUIG (7pm ), while the club also hosts an international tournament at U16 level with teams from France, Spain and the Irish U16 team.
A special anniversary book will be launched in the Forge, Moycullen, on Sunday evening, followed by annniversary social in the same venue.
The SuperLeague team will be anxious to repeat a victory over Belfast Star, having finished with a narrow 72-71 win at the end of last weekend's first round of the Hula Hoops National Cup.
Moycullen had found themselves behind by 24-14 at the end of the first, but the second period was a different story. A trio of drive-and-scores from Patrick Lyons, James Loughnane and Dylan Cunningham set the tone and Belfast could not find any answer. Dylan Cunningham attacked the basket at every opportunity, and with more scores from Freeman and Lawrence-Ricks, Moycullen had erased the Belfast lead, outscored the visitors 22-2.
Scores from Freeman, Cunningham and Lawrence-Ricks pushed Moycullen further ahead, while at the defensive end, Loughnane and Lyons continued to harass their Belfast counterparts. Eventually Belfast managed to break out of their offensive funk. grabbed the initiative with quick three-pointers to cut the lead to eight.
The Belfast sharpshooting continued in the fourth to level the scoring, and thereafter the two sides exchanged baskets. Star guard Conor Johnston nailed a long three-pointer to put Star up one with 70 seconds remaining, but on Moycullen’s last offende, Lawrence-Ricks was fouled, and coolly knocked down a pair of free-throws to put his side back up by one, with 25 seconds on the clock. Again, Moycullen’s defence forced a long Belfast possession. Their final attempt fell short, and Lawrence-Ricks secured the rebound, and the victory, as the home crowd erupted.
SSE Airtricty Moycullen: Dylan Cunningham, Phil Lawrence-Ricks, Paul Freeman, Patrick Lyons, James Loughnane, Joseph Tummon, Kyle Cunningham, Conor Curran, Stephen O’Brien, Paul O’ Brien, John Hackett. Coach: John Cunningham; asst coach: Gerald Lyons.