Moycullen travel to Dublin this Saturday for their final game before Christmas and a last chance at exacting some revenge over a UCD Marian team that snatched victory in Galway with a last-second shot back in October.
Gerald Lyons' charges will be confident they can pose a real challenge to last year's cup champions as matches between the two sides have traditionally been close.
However Moycullen will need to improve their execution in the fourth quarter if they hope to end 2011 with a win. When the teams last played, Moycullen dominated the game before freezing up with the finishing line in sight, allowing Marian back in contention before eventually losing courtesy of a string of late scores. Unfortunately for the young Galway outfit, it was a similar story last weekend as they entertained UCC Demons of Cork in a hard-fought contest in Oranmore.
Despite leading at the end of the first, second, and third quarter, Moycullen failed to hold their nerve when it counted on Saturday, losing to Demons by eight points, 67-59.
The home side’s lead had stretched to 12 at half time following an excellent defensive display that held the normally high-scoring Demons’ offence to just 23 first-half points. The majority of these scores came off second-chance opportunities, with Carlton Cuffe, in particular, crashing the offensive boards well.
The performance was all the more memorable considering the continued absence of big men Paul O'Brien and Stephen Tummon, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
To compensate for the losses, Luke Enos was in sparkling form for Moycullen and Demons had no real match up for the South Dakota man. Enos connected on 26 first-half points, outscoring Demons by himself.
Although Moycullen held their lead going into the fourth quarter – up by seven – their offence became dangerously stagnant with lethargic movement off the ball. Demons, on the other hand, were finding a bit more rhythm.
The visitors dragged back the lead and eventually stole ahead in the dying minutes through baskets from Niall O’Rielly and Ciaran O’Sullivan.
As Moycullen’s offence had ground to a halt and failed to score in the final three minutes of the contest, Demons ran out winners by a flattering eight points.
“It is a very frustrating loss because I think we all played really hard tonight,” said Moycullen guard Cian Nihill. “It was a great physical effort from the whole team for 35 minutes.
“We played great defence to hold Demons so low for so long, but we never gave Luke enough help on offence. He was brilliant again even though our movement around him was terrible at times.”
Moycullen: Luke Enos (34 ), James Loughnane (9 ), Cian Nihill (7 ), Salva Camps (6 ), Michael Dowd (2 ), Dylan Cunningham (2 ), Dylan Costello, Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.