Moycullen’s confidence boosted for cup quarter-final

In a true test of character at the weekend, Moycullen bounced back from a tough loss on Saturday against Belfast Star to record a hard-fought win over conference leaders UL Eagles on Sunday.

The win will have given Gerald Lyons' charges renewed confidence heading into a Superleague Cup quarter-final away to Killester in Dublin this Saturday.

While Moycullen will once again be underdogs at the bookies, that tag has not prevented them from taking big scalps this season already, including Sunday's opponents, the highly-touted Limerick outfit.

Killester, who have been league champions in the last two years, bring a wealth of experience to the court in Peter Madsen, Mike Westbrooks and, in particular, American Jermaine Turner, who has so often been a prolific scorer in past encounters between the two sides.

Moycullen will need another mammoth defensive effort like that put in on Sunday when they held a Limerick team dotted with senior internationals to just 61 points.

Coincidentally, that was the same score Moycullen had contributed to the previous day's contest which they lost.

A poor start that day saw them trailing by six after the first quarter when Belfast's new American signing scored 13 early points in his first game for the visitors.

That lead extended to 11 points at half time as Moycullen failed to play their usual high-energy game. Baskets from Luke Enos and Paul O'Brien pulled Moycullen back to within three late in the fourth quarter, but Star eventually pulled away for a deserved win, albeit on a flattering 61 to 75 scoreline.

Frustrated at the manner of their loss on Saturday, Moycullen came out all guns blazing on Sunday, playing their best defence of the season. Unfortunately that energy and excitement sometimes told against them as they failed to settle on offence, scoring only six points in the first quarter and 17 in the second. Eagles seemed unhinged by Moycullen's defence and faired little better, leaving them only nine points ahead at the half.

In what must be considered the best quarter of basketball Moycullen have played in the Superleague, they outscored Limerick 24 points to eight in the third period, vaulting them into a seven-point lead.

However, the contest still came down to the very end, with Limerick connecting on six quick points in the last two minutes to narrow the gap to just one point.

After a free throw to stretch the lead to two, Moycullen found enough energy to pull out a final defensive stop when it was needed most, forcing Eagles into a bad shot that Michael Dowd eagerly rebounded to run out the clock, securing a memorable 63 - 61 win for the Galway club.

Moycullen v Belfast: Luke Enos (29 ), Michael Dowd (9 ), Paul O'Brien (9 ), James Loughnane (5 ), Eoghan Maxwell (3 ), Cian Nihill (2 ), Dylan Cunningham (2 ), Nollaig Cunningham (2 ), James Loughnane, Patrick Lyons, Salvador Camps, Ian Burke.

Moycullen v Limerick: Luke Enos (24 ), Salvador Camps (14 ), Cian Nihill (6 ), Dylan Cunningham (6 ), Eoghan Maxwell (4 ), Paul O'Brien (4 ), Michael Dowd (2 ), James Loughnane, Patrick Lyons, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.

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