Moycullen’s Superleague season concludes at home on Saturday when they host UCC Demons at NUIG Kingfisher Club (8pm ).
Moycullen’s final game against the Demons is likely to exemplify the difficulties Moycullen have faced in this second season playing at the highest level of basketball in Ireland. The Demons, with 11 wins, will want to ensure they grab a play-off spot, and they will travel to Galway intent on nothing else.
Moycullen, with just one win this season, have been unable to reflect their hard work on the points table. Throughout last month there were signs that, despite their record, the team was competitive in the league, but on too many occasions offensive inefficiency and a propensity to turn the ball over has prevented Moycullen from adding to their points tally.
Given the improved showing in the last four games, an end of season victory is not a total longshot. With Nihill and Kurcenkovas expected to return, they will hope to sign off in positive fashion before facing a summer of hard work to bridge the gap between them and their more experienced Superleague opponents that has been narrowing.
Last weekend they suffered another defeat against play-off hopefuls Neptune by 85 - 77.
Despite being understrength with Cian Nihill unavailable due to work commitments and Mindaugus Kurcenkovas joining other injury victims, the team was optimistic of a good performance. However, despite an inspirational display from Dylan Cunningham, they could not quite deliver.
Cunningham helped his side to a positive start, connecting on two threes to match Mick McGinn's similar start for the hosts. With James Loughnane also carrying forward the form shown in an impressive week's training, Moycullen matched their opponents score for score. Loughnane and Cunningham shared 13 of the team’s 15 points for the quarter, but they still trailed by four.
Neptune, however, established a decisive lead in the second. Michael Bonaparte was the major contributor as his size and athelticism proved a big problem for Moycullen. He chipped in with 14 points while McGinn added a further nine. Paul O'Brien continued his recent good form, hitting eight points including two three-pointers, while Loughnane added another to keep Moycullen in the hunt. It was damage limitation though as Neptune upped the pace, but they began the second half with renewed intensity. Four different scorers connected on the first four baskets, but Phil Taylor hit 11 in the quarter to help Neptune to a 67-52 scoreline.
The margin of deficit remained the same throughout the last quarter until Dylan Cunningham, along wth Stephen Tummon, took over the game offensively for Moycullen. Cunningham connected on three successive three-pointers to close the gap, but the gap was too great in the end as they slipped to an eight-point defeat.
However there was good news for Moycullen when their u-16s won the Cork County Board tournament, defeating Neptune in the final, while the u-14s also defeated Neptune in a pre-Superleague friendly.
Moycullen: Dylan Cunningham (28 ), Mason Ambler (16 ), James Loughnane (13 ), Paul O'Brien (10 ), Mike Dowd (6 ), John Cunningham (2 ), James O'Brien (2 ), Eoin Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Gerald Lyons. Coach: Enda Byrt.