In almost three years of Superleague competition Moycullen had yet to finish within single digits of Killester, the two-times defending league champions. However on Saturday in NUI Galway, and without their star American centre Luke Enos who is recovering from an ankle injury, Moycullen beat their Dublin counterparts by a deserved six points.
The win was built on an incredible defensive performance that limited the normally high-scoring Killester team to a season low 58 points.
Although severely undersized, Moycullen did an excellent job of protecting close to the basket with Paul O'Brien, in particular, doing an outstanding job on Killester's main threat, 6’ 6”Jermaine Turner. He was helped by a team tactic of swarming the ball close to the ring and forcing Killester to shoot from range.
The scoring gap left by Enos' absence was filled by a collaborative effort with three Moycullen players scoring in the teens, while five players connected on three-pointers at some stage in the contest.
That team effort was on show from the start of the game when Moycullen's sharp cutting seemed to surprise the visitors, helping the home side establish an early seven-point lead.
Killester are not league champions for nothing, however, and when Moycullen's concentration waned later in the half, they took full advantage, sparking a deadly run that saw the champions take a three-point lead at the break.
The Dubliners’ size advantage meant they were always able to find the occasional score off rebounds, ensuring the game remained closely fought throughout the third quarter. It all seemed to have been in vain, however, when Killester started to pull away early in the fourth quarter, extending a lead to six at one stage.
Yet Moycullen's experience in close games this year shone through from that point onwards and it was the young westerners who handled the closing minutes like the veteran team.
In their best patch of shooting all season, Cian Nihill connected on two late three-pointers, Michael Dowd and Dylan Cunningham bagged two more, and Salva Camps proved unguardable, creating scoring chances for himself or his teammates on almost foray down the court.
Moycullen’s free throw shooting clinched it in the end. Fouled while shooting a three-pointer, Nihill scored all three of his attempts while Camps and Dowd added more points from the line in subsequent plays.
Stellar defence coupled with good rebounding starved Killester of the baskets to match their Moycullen counterparts, who, for once, were able to enjoy the last seconds of a game before their home fans knowing they had a famous win in hand.
Moycullen: Cian Nihill (18 ), Salva Camps (16 ), Paul O'Brien (14 ), Eoghan Maxwell (8 ), Michael Dowd (5 ), Dylan Cunningham (3 ), Patrick Lyons, Kevin Folan, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.