Cup holders Moycullen come up short

Moycullen U20 Basketball: Back row, coach Nollaig Cunningham,  Darragh Mulkerrins,  Joseph Timmon,  Josh Marvesly,  Kyle Cunningham,  Sean Candon,  Sean Kelly,  Jack Costello. Front row,  Conor Egan , Conor Curran,  John Hackett,  Rory Heffernan,  Eoin Kelly
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Moycullen U20 Basketball: Back row, coach Nollaig Cunningham, Darragh Mulkerrins, Joseph Timmon, Josh Marvesly, Kyle Cunningham, Sean Candon, Sean Kelly, Jack Costello. Front row, Conor Egan , Conor Curran, John Hackett, Rory Heffernan, Eoin Kelly .

Moycullen u-20 men's team came up just short when losing to St Vincent’s by 68-65 on Sunday.

In an intriguing National Cup semi-final against St Vincent’s on Sunday afternoon, Moycullen showed character and heart, but in the end they missed a three-point shot at the buzzer, and with it their chance of winning back-to-back u-20 National Cup titles.

The team had defended the title admirably all year, but Vincent’s just had a little extra on Sunday. However the game was not without controversy, tight calls, scoring runs, and real quality, with Moycullen boasting three premier league players and St Vincent’s having four.

The start of the game gave some indication of what was to come, a nip and tuck affair with one team edging ahead only for the other to pull back the deficit. The Dublin outfit set out their stall early with a full court denying Kyle Cunningham who was in blistering form during the campaign, while looking to their own scoring leaders Graham Brannelly and Martin Neary. The Dubliners built up a five-point lead midway through the quarter, but Moycullen responded to level the game at 15 each by the end of the quarter. With defences dominating in large stretches, it was an absorbing contest.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern - Vincent’s went ahead, only for Moycullen to respond in kind, but Moycullen began to gain a bit of a foothold. When Kyle Cunningham and Sean Candon connected at the end of some great ball movement, there was eight points between the teams at the end of the half, 41-33.

Defences took over in the third, and while Moycullen's lead was reduced to four points, the last five minutes proved to be a different matter. Vincent’s began to gain control of the offensive boards through Conor Gilligan, and from a four-point lead, Moycullen found themselves nine points behind, 53-62.

Moycullen, entering the fourth quarter with their backs against the wall, responded like true champions by increasing their intensity, tightening their defence, and moving the ball much quicker on the offensive end. Eoghan Kelly, Sean Kelly and Joshua Marvelsey beginning to find holes in the Vincent’s defence, reducing the deficit to two, and it looked like Moycullen might complete the comeback. However a good inside finish from Joe Tummon was answered by Scott Dermody, Kyle Cunningham made a tough lay-up, only for Cathal Barron to respond, and with 12 seconds remaining and three points in it, a tough shot on the buzzer from Cunningham just came up short.

Moycullen: Kyle Cunningham 24, Joseph Tummon 10, Sean Candon 11, Eoghan Kelly 8, Sean Kelly 4, John Hackett 3, Joshua Marvesley 3, Rory Heffernan 2, Conor Egan, Connor Curran, Jack Costelloe, Darragh Mulkerrins.

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