Any outside hopes of Moycullen making the play-offs in their first season of Superleague basketball were crushed at the weekend.
However unlikely their chances, Moycullen had still fancied their chances of creating an upset when they hosted DCU Saints on Saturday at NUIG before facing current champions Blue Demons the following day. Despite positive starts in both games, they were unable to match their opponents in the end, losing to Saints by 87 - 74 and to Demons 75 - 57. With just two league games played in seven weeks prior to last weekend’s double header, Moycullen’s lack of match practise and momentum did not help their cause.
Now they face an away trip to fellow strugglers UCD Marian on Sunday before their last home game of the season against a rejuvenated Ulster Elks.
Against the Saints Mike Dowd hit the opening basket and this was the precursor to one of his most impressive outings of the season. Nate Fritsch and Garnett Griffin combined well at the offensive end in a free scoring quarter, while DCU had six players sharing their 19 points as they edged to a one-point lead.
However DCU established early dominance in the second. Emmet Donnelly ran the show, drawing the defence for the big inside pair of Mike Trimmer and Martins Provizors. They shared DCU’s first 12 points of the quarter, while Moycullen’s Dowd, Fritsch, Cian Nihill, Griffin, James Loughnane, and Puff Summers all scored, with three coming from beyond the three point line to close the margin to five at the break.
Although Moycullen were still in the game by the fourth, trailing by 10, DCU continued to stay in control, easing to a 13-point win.
The following day, the unfamiliar surroundings of Calasanctius College in Oranmore did not prove a happy venue for Moycullen who put up a solid defensive performance but could not break down a resolute Demons’ defence.
Once again Moycullen started well with the pace of Loughnane and the consistency of Cian Nihill keeping the home team in touch, but worryingly, Demons’ American pair of Johnson and Beale dominated the inside exchanges and shared 11 first quarter points. As the quarter wore on, Moycullen’s offence ground to a halt and Demons took an 18-13 lead.
Nate Fritsch found his range at the start of the second but despite making it tough for the Demons’ guards, Moycullen failed to convert it into enough scores at the other end. Five points from Garnett Griffin kept Moycullen in touch, but they still trailed by nine at the half. In the end Demons exerted their superiority as Moycullen slipped to a disappointing 18-point defeat.
Moycullen v DCU: Nate Fritsch (20 ), Cian Nihill (13 ), Puff Summers (10 ), Garnett Griffin (10 ), Michael Dowd (9 ), James Loughnane (8 ), Dylan Cunningham (2 ), John Cunningham (2 ), Stephen Tummon, Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Paul O’Brien.
Moycullen v Blue Demons: Cian Nihill (18 ), Nate Fritsch (15 ), James Loughnane (15 ), Garnett Griffin (5 ), Puff Summers (2 ), John Cunningham (2 ), Michael Dowd, Dylan Cunningham, Mindaugus Kurcenkovas, Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Paul O’Brien.