Moycullen’s return to action in Irish basketball’s top league this weekend when they host perennial powerhouse UCC Demons at NUI Galway on Saturday at 3.45pm.
The encounter will kick off what promises to be an intriguing year in the Superleague, and Moycullen, with a number of off-season changes, will want to make a positive start at home.
Earlier this summer, the club secured the signing of last year’s sensational import Salva Camps as its player-coach for the 2012/13 campaign. Camps brings a wealth of experience from his days in the Spanish professional league where he played alongside some of the top clubs in world basketball such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
With the departure also of last season’s top scorer Luke Enos, who returned home to the United States, Moycullen have recruited an American player, Patrick Sullivan, to fill his shoes.
Sullivan boasted a stellar collegiate career at Hamilton College, New York, where he scored more than 1,000 career points and finished ninth on the university’s all time scorer’s list and, at 6ft 7inch, he looks set to make a major contribution to Moycullen.
“I’m really excited to play the season in Ireland. It is early days yet, but I can already see from our couple of pre-season games that this Moycullen team has a lot of talent and great team spirit,” Sullivan says.
His arrival has given the team a huge boost, particularly with the loss of several key players - several of whom were just beginning to blossom at the top level.
Michael Dowd, last year’s captain and three year starting point guard, has emigrated to Australia, while teammates James Loughnane, Dylan Cunningham and Eoghan Maxwell (all starters at one time or another last year ) have left for Canada.
These departures have created a sizable gap in the Moycullen rotation, but it is hoped several Moycullen youngsters who have collected national underage titles over the past few years will fill those shoes - most notably Paddy Lyons and Dylan Costelloe, both just 17.
However there is a core of returning players, who after three seasons of being considered the ‘young guns’ of the Irish Superleague, must now step up and become leaders. Coach Camps will look to Cian Nihill, Stephen Tummon and Paul O’Brien in particular to shoulder this responsibility with veteran Nollaig Cunningham also bringing his experience to the table.