A feast of Superleague basketball awaits Galway this weekend when, for the only time this season, Moycullen play back-to-back home games on Saturday and Sunday.
First up in the Kingfisher Gym on Saturday at 4pm will be Belfast Star who will be hoping to exact revenge for the Moycullen’s dramatic overtime victory up north earlier this year. Former Irish senior men’s head coach, Danny Fulton, will bring his charges to Galway with renewed hope after improved performances in recent games.
Star have some of the deadliest shooters in the league and judging on the two teams’ previous encounters, Saturday is likely to be another close affair.
Less than 24 hours later, Moycullen take on pre-season favourites Limerick Eagles, whose star-studded line-up has failed to dominate the league as many expected.
Boasting a handful of established senior Irish internationals. as well as last year’s coach of the year, Mark Keenan - who moved from Killester to join Eagles this summer – Limerick arguably have more fire-power than any other team in the league.
However, they have been surprised by lower-ranked teams already this year and Moycullen will be expected to out-work their vaunted opponents and will hope to cause another big upset in front of the home fans, who will without doubt provide a difficult environment for the visitors.
Firstly, Moycullen will need to improve on last Sunday’s lethargic start away from home which cost them dearly as they trailed from beginning to end against DCU Saints, losing 72 -51.
Saints showed why they currently sit atop the Superleague table with an early intensity that saw them grab a 22 -11 first-quarter lead.
Moycullen did narrow the gap to four several times in the game, primarily through stand-out defensive performances from Eoghan Maxwell and Paul O’Brien. However, they could never make the final push to capture the advantage on the scoreboard and, in truth, a lacklustre offensive display deservedly yielded a paltry 51 points, simply not enough to win in the top league.
Regular high-scorers Luke Enos and Cian Nihill did not create as much as head coach Gerald Lyons would have hoped for, while the absence of Stephen Tummon through injury also cost the Galway side an extra scorer.
“At times we were a bit static, but we also just did not make enough shots. For all the problems they caused us, we still got a lot of looks that we didn’t connect on,” said Paul O’Brien, whose excellent form so far this season was rewarded with a place on the starting five for Sunday’s game.
“There is a lot to work on, which might be the best way to be going into what is a massive weekend coming up for us. Two home games Saturday and Sunday, it could be a real defining moment of the season for us.”
Moycullen: Luke Enos (17 ), Dylan Cunningham (10 ), Cían Nihill (10 ), Eoghan Maxwell (5 ), Paul O’Brien (4 ), James Loughnane (2 ), Michael Dowd (2 ), Patrick Lyons, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.