Moycullen made it two wins from two games for a positive start to the New Year when overcoming DCU Saints in Dublin by 78-91 at the weekend.
It ensures Moycullen, tied with Killester on 15 points, have moved clear of the bottom team, and are now one win behind Maree and Saints.
In this latest win, Moycullen were forced to weather a late rally from DCU, before eventually getting themselves across the line.
In the first quarter Moycullen struck first. Paul Kelly and Paddy Lyons were aggressive off the dribble early, using their quickness to their advantage.
DCU, though, held something of an advantage on the inside, and their big-man pairing of Superleague veterans Martins Provizors and Michael Bonaparte provided most of their early baskets.
At the end of the first, Moycullen held a three-point lead, but DCU gained some momentum to edge themselves ahead in the second quarter. Their big men continued to pick up points, while also disrupting Moycullen’s play on the opposite end. Moycullen connected on some three-point shots late on in the second, but by half-time DCU were on top by six.
Whatever coach John Cunningham said to his side at the interval must have had the right effect, as Moycullen’s offence looked exceptional in the second half.
Good ball movement led to some three-point looks which Joseph Tummon, Grant Olsson and Kyle Cunningham, among others, converted.
With the teams tied at the end of the third, Moycullen needed to close it out for an important away win. And they gave themselves an eight-point lead and looked to be in control before DCU would made a late push to set up a tense final few minutes.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Grant Olsson drove before Paddy Lyons nailed a huge three-point shot, which gave Moycullen some breathing space. From there, Moycullen closed it out and put the seal on an impressive win.
Moycullen coach John Cunningham says the two festive wins were hugely important.
“These two wins over Christmas are really vital for us, if we want to have a chance of avoiding a relegation battle,” he said. “We’re not out of trouble yet, but we’ve given ourselves a chance and a bit of momentum.
“We moved the ball really well offensively tonight and our guards did a great job of both scoring and sharing the ball. We have a couple weeks now to get ready for the next one and we’ll continue to take it game by game,” he added.
Next up for Moycullen is a home game against UCD Marian on January 18 at 7.30pm in the NUI Galway Kingfisher Gym.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (19 ), Paddy Lyons (19 ), Paul Kelly (18 ), Joseph Tummon (11 ), Kyle Cunningham (9 ), Daniel Vila (5 ), Conor Curran (5 ), James Conaire (4 ), Dylan Cunningham (2 ). Coach: John Cunningham.
Maree edged at death
Maree and Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin dished up an electrifying game in Galway on Saturday evening, with the Kerry side just edging it at the death, 73-78. The game was extremely close throughout, with Darin Johnson and Eoin Rockall the standouts for the hosts, while Rami Ghanem and Colin O’Reilly shone brightest for Killorglin, and were key in helping them over the line.
Up in Galway meanwhile, Maree women overcame a tough challenge from Singleton SuperValu Brunell at home Saturday evening to run out 84-73 winners in the end.
The game was tightly contested throughout the first half, with Claire Rockall and Carly McClendon on target for the home side. Despite a dazzling display from Brunell’s Treyanna Clay and Katie Walshe, it was not enough as the hosts drove home to an 84-73 point win in the end.
The 2019/2020 Hula Hoops National Cup semi-finals will take centre stage in Cork this weekend, and one Galway club is involved. Moycullen BC will contest the U20 national cup and face Templeogue BC, at Neptune Stadium on Sunday (1pm ).