Moycullen welcome last year’s National Cup champions UCD Marian to the Kingfisher Gym in NUI Galway this Saturday (7.30pm ) where the home fans will hope their team can secure a win without the nerve-wracking closing minutes of last weekend’s thriller.
Despite leading at the end of the first, second, and third quarter on Saturday, and having dominated the game, Moycullen surrendered an 11-point lead deep in the fourth, losing 64 - 62 to visitors DCU Saints.
Once again, the inability to find scores when they needed them proved to be Moycullen’s downfall when a more experienced team would have wrapped up the victory without the need for last minute dramatics.
“It was a hard loss to stomach,” said Moycullen captain Michael Dowd. “We really felt like we had that game, it felt like we were the better team, but in truth the team which scores more are the better team and that’s sport.
“It’s a loss and we want wins, but there were a lot of positives. DCU were one of the teams we had most difficulty with the last two years and with any bit of luck at the end we would have walked away with a win. UCD is a team we have beaten before and it’ll be all out now to try to keep up the momentum that is there in training and get that first win at home next week.”
Last Saturday Moycullen regained the lead when Cían Nihill connected on a long two-pointer with 20 seconds left on the clock, but unfortunately for the home side it was not the last score.
Excellent defence on the final possession forced Saints into a tough shot that bounced well clear of the basket. But as the clock ticked down Irish international point guard Emmet Donnelly was quickest to the rebound and guided the ball back into the basket to level the scores. Then, however, the referee called an unsportsmanlike foul for a shirt tug on Donnelly, awarding Saints one free shot and possession. Donnelly missed the extra point and Moycullen steeled themselves for a last defence that would force extra time.
Credit to Saints, despite good Moycullen pressure, they found their American Mike Trimmer, who had the hot hand all game, and he made a tough 20 footer with a hand in his face. Game Saints, and heartbreak for Moycullen.
Coach Gerald Lyons will take a lot of positives into this week however, particularly his side’s excellent start which saw them jump ahead early.
Luke Enos established himself close to the basket with a number of scores, which forced Saints to double team him for much of the game. This gave the perimeter players the room they needed to operate with Dylan Cunningham benefiting most from this in the opening quarter, connecting on seven early points.
Particularly impressive for Moycullen was Stephen Tummon, whose athleticism caused the visitors constant problems.
Moycullen: Cían Nihill (17 ), Stephen Tummon (12 ), Luke Enos (11 ), Dylan Cunningham (10 ), Michael Dowd (6 ), James Loughnane (4 ), Paul O’Brien (2 ), Kevin Folan, Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke. Coach, Gerald Lyons.