Moycullen advance in overtime to deny Titans

SSE Airtricity Moycullen emerged from a tense Western derby against JM&L Auctioneers Titans to book their place in the President’s National Cup final.

The Galway Titans were hoping to defend their title, but team fouls proved their undoing as they lost out 80-75 in overtime.

Both sides were feeling each other out early on, allowing Tomas Mitkus and Ronan O’Sullivan to trade three-pointers. There was no quarter given between the Galway rivals and Moycullen forged a lead from the free-throw line, while Tomas Mitkus looked sharpest for Titans.

As the fouls racked up, Paul Freeman hit the bench and Moycullen lacked an enforcer on the boards.

Ronan O’Sullivan was in fine shooting form and had 12 points for the half, but Titans found their way back into the game with second chance scores. Darryl Durham came off the bench and tipped in a score to narrow the gap and there was just a point between the sides when Paulius Peldzius drained one from 22 feet.

Titans picked up six points in the second quarter from offensive rebounds, but that changed when Paul Freeman checked back in. His blocking and rebounding cut off the Titans' supply and Ronan O’Sullivan hit the last basket of the quarter to make it 35-32 to Moycullen at half time.

Moycullen’s strong start in the third quarter was to serve them well. Sean Candon hit a three-pointer to get things underway and then assisted James Loughnane for another triple to open up a seven-point margin. There were points left behind though. Loughnane and O’Sullivan missed layups and Moycullen were to rue the wasted chances when the fourth quarter combusted.

Cosconera reopened the scoring and Mitkus pounced for two when Moycullen were outnumbered under their basket. The only dunk of the game gave Titans the lead for the first time in 30 minutes. Darryl Durham jammed it in and the crowd erupted.

When Paulius Peldzius drew a foul on the way up for a layup, Durham made it a four-point margin with two minutes left. The rest of regulation time was decided by free throws. Mitkus shot 0/2 and Loughnane made 2/2 , finished 69-69 after 40 minutes.

With another five minutes added to the clock, Moycullen saw their chance to regain control. They only scored one basket from open play through James Loughnane, but with the game in the balance, they hit nine of 12 shots from the free throw line.

Moycullen head coach Salva Camps was relieved at the final buzzer.

“We’re so happy,” he said. “It was really tough out there. But we’ve played twice already in the league so we expected that. We said in the dressing room that this game wouldn’t be won until the last second and that’s what happened.”

Titans' top scorers: Paulius Peldzius 26, Tomas Mitkus 14, Darryl Durham 11

Moycullen top scorers: James Loughnane 19, Ronan O’Sullivan 17, Paul Freeman 15

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