Galway's two Super League basketball clubs face challenges from opposite ends of the table this weekend.
Moycullen have a real opportunity to continue this season's momentum when they host basement boys KUBS at NUIG Kingfisher on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm ).
John Cunningham's side is sitting comfortably in mid-table with three wins from five, and the visit of the Dublin KUBS should see them prevail at home and continue their early season momentum.
Across the city, Maree return to the Community Centre Oranmore to host Griffith College Swords Thunder on Saturday evening (7.45pm ).
However Maree's improving form will be tested on this occasion when hosting the current Super League leaders, who have dropped only one game.
Last Sunday sitting space was at a premium in the Jes gym when Galway basketball fans piled into the gym for the eagerly anticipated re-match between the two local clubs, Moycullen and Maree.
As with the previous meeting between the two sides, Moycullen came out the victors in this Super League Cup derby, winning 79-71, though not without withstanding an early fourth quarter onslaught.
Moycullen controlled the game in the first quarter - their guards finding the basket at will, with Cian Nihill, Patrick Lyons and James Loughnanne each picking up scores.
Maree struggled to get into the game as Paul Freeman and Dylan Cunningham all but took Maree’s big men out of the game, each Moycullen defensive stop facilitating a fast-break score on the opposite end.
The game settled somewhat in the second period. Maree began to look more confident, and they started to chip away at Moycullen’s lead. Behind some solid play from Eoin Rockall and Cathal Finn, Maree pulled themselves back into the game.
Brandon McGuire and Patrick Lyons carried the scoring load for Moycullen, but Maree continued to hang around, never letting the lead get above the 10-point mark. As the sides entered the changing rooms, Moycullen were still on top, 42-34.
Maree pushed Moycullen hard in the third period, and the Connemara men’s offence faltered.
Cian Nihill proved to be Moycullen’s lone scoring threat in the third as scores from Kenneth Hansberry and Watkins Williams helped Maree battle back to open up a narrow lead midway through the fourth quarter.
In the end though, Moycullen’s Super League experience made the difference.
Nihill nailed a deep three-pointer with just under two minutes remaining, giving his team the lead once again. On the following possession, Moycullen forced a turnover, before Patrick Lyons coolly drilled another huge three.
Maree had two three-point opportunities in the dying moments, but they could ot convert, and Moycullen came away with the victory.
“When Maree came with their run, the burden of being favourites and losing a 15-point lead affected us I think - suddenly we were in a battle we felt we shouldn’t have let ourselves be in,” said Moycullen head coach John Cunningham.
“Credit Maree too, they fought for every loose ball, and they went down fighting,” he added.
Moycullen will now move on to face Killester in round two.
Moycullen: Cian Nihill (27 ), Patrick Lyons (15 ), Brandon McGuire (15 ), Dylan Cunningham (8 ), James Loughnanne (5 ), Paul Freeman (4 ), Mindaugus Kurcenkovas (3 ), Joseph Tummon (2 ), Kyle Cunningham, James Lyons, Conor Curran, Paul Kelly.