Moycullen survive tough Superleague season

The final month of the Basketball Ireland Men’s Superleague season was something of a mixed bag for Moycullen, but in the end they survived to fight another season in the top tier.

Last weekend, after being swept aside by UCD Marian on the Saturday, the Galway men put in their best performance of the season against Tralee Warriors on Bank Holiday Monday.

Such was the appeal of Tralee and their star player, four-time all-Ireland winner Kieran Donaghy, that the NUI Kingfisher Gym was at full capacity.

For most of the game Moycullen had to fight hard to stay within touching distance of Tralee, who were crowned Superleague champions.

Foul trouble forced Moycullen to sit out a couple of their more instrumental players for the final quarter, and Tralee were quick to capitalise on their absence.

However Moycullen coach John Cunningham was proud his young team was able to hang with Tralee for so long.

“Tralee are a super side, and they just outworked us there at the end,” said Cunningham.

“They are one of, if not the premier side in our league, and even though we lost, we can take a lot of positives from that performance,” he added.

However, Moycullen’s final league game was a different story.

At the time of playing, opponents Templeogue were still within one game of catching Tralee, and as a result they exploded out of the gates. Their American star player Dee Proby started with the hot hand, and they went to him early and often. Before Moycullen had time to blink, they found themselves 17 points adrift.

From there, Templeogue led for the entirety of the rest of the game. In spite of the best efforts of Kyle Cunningham (26 pts ) and Isaiah Harris-Winn (22 pts ), Moycullen simply could not halt the Templeogue onslaught.

With the game all but out of reach, coach Cunningham used the remainder of the game to give large amounts of playing time to some of his younger players. James Lyons, Conor Curran and Dara Kenna all looked comfortable playing at Irish Basketball’s top level, which bodes well for Moycullen going forward.

In a challenging season for Moycullen, the first half of the season saw them on the road every weekend, while the second half saw them play seven consecutive games at home. And luck seems to have been on their side.

Despite only winning four games, they managed to avoid relegation. Normally, two sides are relegated from the Superleague, but Swords Thunder were removed from the league by Basketball Ireland, so one of the relegation spots went to them.

Although Moycullen finished with the same record as C and S Neptune, they won the head-to-heads both home and way, ensuring they go into the break knowing their will need to improve next season.

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