Top of the table clash for Moycullen basketball

 James Loughnane who proved influential in Moycullen’s victory over Limerick Lions at the weekend.

James Loughnane who proved influential in Moycullen’s victory over Limerick Lions at the weekend.

Moycullen men’s basketball conclude the year with a National League fixture away to Castleisland on Saturday (8.15pm )..

This is a crucial top-of-the-table clash, and having pushed their record to eleven following last weekend’s two victories, Moycullen’s confidence is high.

Last Saturday’s National League basketball fixture saw a return to Galway of the former Moycullen star player Adrian Walsh.

Now playing for the Limerick Lions, Walsh had led Moycullen to two National League finals and top scored for the team in each of his three seasons with the club. However there was no happy homecoming for the big Canadian as Moycullen collected their ninth win of the season to stay in joint top position in the Southern Conference.

The 18-point margin of victory did not do justice to the challenge posed by Limerick Lions in NUIG on Saturday.

Led by point guard Matt Hall who works in Galway as the Western Region Basketball development officer, Lions were full value for their half-time lead and for a long time looked capable of ending Moycullen’s seven-game winning streak.

Moycullen were thrown out of rhythm early in the game when John Cunningham fell heavily and broke his wrist, and Lions went on a second-quarter run with Matt Hall scoring freely and also setting up his teammates for easy baskets with some fine assists.

Cian Nihil and Garnett Griffin scored well during the first and second quarter to keep Moycullen in touch, and at half-time there was just a point between the two sides, with the Lions leading 32 - 31.

However Moycullen, who have built their season on superb defence and tight teamwork, stepped up the intensity in the next quarter to shut down the free scoring Lions offence. Moycullen had edged four points ahead when James Loughnane blew the game open with a couple of great steals and suddenly the lead was ten. Outscoring their Limerick opponents 23-9 in that third quarter, they had taken a 13 point lead.

The fourth quarter was a formality as Moycullen pushed on against a clearly tiring Lions outfit. Coach Mardon was able to give court time to all the players with young David Lee looking particularly impressive in those closing minutes. The game finished 71-53 to Moycullen.

As the game finished the players had to turn their thoughts to the next game less than 24 hours later in Portlaoise. Without the injured John Cunningham, and Cian Nihill and Eoghan Maxwell who were exam tied, the trip to the midlands was a potential banana skin. However Moycullen came up trumps with a 69-65 win.


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