“Much done, a lot more to do,”says Moycullen men’s basketball coach Enda Byrt after his side finished the first half of the season with a loss to pacesetters UL Eagles.
Despite another superb showing from Nate Fritsch and Cian Nihill, Moycullen just came up short against the league leaders on Satuday night in Limerick when the home team proved to be just two to three points better in each quarter.
Despite the defeat, with 10 of the 18 games played and a 3-7 record, Moycullen can reflect on a solid start to their Superleague adventure and can face the New Year optimistic of further adding to their wins column. First up is a January 2 encounter at home to Blue Demons.
Byrt says Moycullen will regroup over the Christmas period to plan the assault on the second half of the season - first up is a January 2 encounter at home to Blue Demons - while also welcoming the return of Garnett Griffin.
Buoyed by a great start against UL Eagles, and another excellent defensive effort, the team was still in with a chance when narrowing the gap to five points late in the fourth. However an over-reliance on Fritsch and Nihill for their scores was too much of a burden as UL Eagles weathered the storm and closed out a 77-66 victory.
Moycullen opened well with a tip in from John Cunningham and a three pointer from Dylan Cunningham. The home team found their feet and regained the lead, but 14 points shared equally between Nate Fritsch and Cian Nihill completed the Moycullen tally as they closed the quarter leading 19-16.
However a wounded UL Eagles came out fighting with Robbins and Campbell continuing to show the way as Moycullen’s manful efforts in guarding Robbins received little reward. UL edged ahead as their size inside and aggression on the boards began to take effect. However, a third foul drawn on Scott Kinevane by another great James Loughnane defensive play and a three from Nihill steadied the ship and when Loughnane followed with another three, the visitors retook the lead. Yet another three from Fritsch built on the lead, but UL finished the quarter stronger to build a five-point lead at the half.
UL Eagles extended the lead to double figures, but, led by Mike Dowd at the point, Moycullen set about cutting the lead again, finishing behind 61-53 at the quarter’s end.
Nate Fritsch produced a couple of impressive early scores early in the fourth only for Glen Wong and Neill Campbell to respond for the home team. Moycullen’s defence was causing UL many problems, forcing a number of turnovers, but they could not establish any offensive pattern that supplied consistent scoring opportunities. A three from Fritsch briefly gave the visitors late hope, but it was not to be as Scott Kinevane, Campbell and Matt Hall sealed an eighth win in nine games for UL Eagles.
Moycullen: Nate Fritsch (27 ), Cian Nihill (22 ), James Loughnane (5 ), Dylan Cunningham (4 ), John Cunningham (4 ), Michael Dowd (4 ), Nollaig Cunningham, Puff Summers, Eoghan Maxwell, Garnett Griffin, James O’Brien. Coach: Enda Byrt.
Hoops: Stu Robbins (24 ), Neil Campbell (22 ), Matt Hall (10 ), Rob Lynch (6 ), Stephen King(5 ), Scott Kinevane (4 ), Glen Wong (4 ), Aiden Holden (2 ), Andrew Dawson, Ray Slattery, Bobby Reidy. Coach: Tony Hehir.