Galway clubs head south in search of cup final spots

Busloads of supporters from three Galway Basketball clubs will head for Cork this weekend to cheer on their teams in the National Cup semi-finals.

SSE Airtricity Moycullen will compete for silverware on three fronts, in the u-18, u-20 and senior men’s national cups.

Both u-18s and u-20s have come through some gruelling competition under head coach Nollaig Cunningham. The u18s endured four qualifiers in two days just to make the knockout stages and now face Fr Mathews at the penultimate stage (Saturday 10am ), while the u-20s deposed of the defending champions KUBS en route to the final four.

 Patrick Lyons is the joint top scorer left in the competition with an average of 20 points per game, but the whole squad will need to be at its best to beat local side Neptune when the two sides meet on Saturday (4pm ).  

  Lyons is also likely to feature for the Moycullen senior men’s side when they take on local rivals and holders JM&L Auctioneers Titans in a mouth-watering Presidents’ National Cup clash on Sunday (1pm ).

Fans at Knockacarra were treated to an exclusive preview last week as the two sides fought it out in the first division of the National League.

Moycullen came out with the win, but had to withstand huge defensive intensity from their near neighbours as well as one of Darryl Durham’s best performances in the maroon of Titans. Titans trail Moycullen by 12 points in the league, but will not give up their National Cup title without a fight.

NUIG Mystics are also still competing in knockout basketball. They will play Portlaoise Panthers courtesy of a 57-53 win over Killester in the last eight. Panthers are the cup holders and unbeaten in the league, while Mystics was the latest side to fall to the midlanders. Panthers won a cup dress rehearsal 69-48 at NUIG, but head coach Mike Murray was glad of the added insight from playing them so close to this weekend.

“We know the way they play. They like to run and push the ball up pretty quickly. Their American enables their fast game off the board, but we handled her pretty OK on Saturday so we’re looking forward to this weekend.”

Maree are focusing their efforts on the league for the rest of the season and picked up an impressive win on their return from the Christmas break. They had 40 points to spare in beating up-and-coming Eanna in Dublin, thanks to a strong start and an all-round performance from Matt Hornbuckle. Hornbuckle had a game-high 23 points with Maree now sitting outright in second place. 

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