Maree basketballers got the better of their hometown rivals Moycullen for the second time in this season's Super League season, prevailing by 87-79.
This ninth win ensures Maree have distanced themselves from the bottom of the league table, while Moycullen find themselves in the uncomfortable position second from bottom.
It was another frustrating result for the west Galway outfit, having narrowly lost their two previous games by narrow margins.
Moycullen started the game quite well, found their rhythm early, and dictated the game’s pace. Brothers Dylan and Kyle Cunnigham each had their best offensive games of the season thus far, each connecting on three-pointers.
Maree, however, comfortable in their home gym, settled more as the first half progressed, with their American player Darin Johnson looking particularly sharp.
By half-time, although Moycullen’s offence had cooled somewhat, they managed to hold onto a narrow lead, 43 - 38.
Maree came out of the changing reinvigorated in the third quarter. Johnson continued to attack the Moycullen defence, which began to get into foul trouble.
Moycullen, already without James Conaire, Josh Marvesely and Conor Curran for this game, were relying on a shortened rotation. When Grant Olsson and Joseph Tummon each picked up a couple of fouls in the third, Maree began to capitalise, and by the end of the third, Maree had taken 63-59 lead.
Moycullen’s foul trouble continued into the fourth, as the game got a little scrappier. Olsson, Dylan Cunningham and Patrick Lyons each had to take a seat on the bench at various times, while Maree continued to add to their lead.
Their Spanish player, Orioles Balsells Plaza, had an impact on both ends of the floor - locking up a couple of Moycullen’s key men, and shooting a perfect 6/6 from the floor.
When a couple of Moycullen players fouled out of the game late in the fourth, the result became an inevitability, and Maree secured the bragging rights and winning by eight.
Moycullen coach John Cunningham was disappointed with the result.
“We just had to spend so much time managing fouls and juggling matchups as the game wore on, it gave Maree the chance they needed to settle and, to their credit, they grabbed their opportunity," Cunningham said.
“Frustration did set in a bit as the game wore on, but overall, I couldn’t fault the effort some of our guys showed. We just have to put this game behind us,” he added.
Next up for Moycullen is a home game against Killester on December 28. That game tips-off in the NUI Galway Kingfisher at 7.30pm.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (26 ), Dylan Cunningham (16 ), Kyle Cunningham (13 ), Daniel Vila (12 ), Paul Kelly (5 ), Joseph Tummon (2 ), James Lyons (2 ), Patrick Lyons, Dara Kenna. Coach: John Cunningham; Asst coach: Gerald Lyons.
In the women’s Super League, Ambassador UCC Glanmire ran out 10-point winners over Maree in Cork, 72-62. Nothing separated the sides in the opening half - Claire Rockall dominated for Maree early on, while some well-worked scores for Glanmire at the other end tied the game at 37 points apiece at the half.
Huge performances from Casey Grace and Tatum Neubert for Glanmire ultimately proved to be the difference as the two combined on the night for 42 points to lead Mark Scannell’s charges home to a key victory and move them back into second place in the table.