SSE Airtricity Moycullen, playing in their first SuperLeague National Cup semi-final against Swords Thunder of Dublin gave it everything they had, but ended up on the wrong end of a 77-85 score-line on Saturday evening in Neptune Stadium, Cork.
Massive underdogs against a star-studded Thunder team, they forced the game right down to the wire.
Led by an outstanding display from James Loughnane, who finished with a team high 17 points, and Paul Freeman, who grabbed a remarkable 20 rebounds, Moycullen performed admirably in their first cup semi-final appearance at this level.
A devastating display from Thunders' point guard in the first quarter forced Moycullen to chase the game early on, but they soon settled and went blow for blow with their opponents for the remainder of the half. At half time the deficit of 12 points was manageable, and after an enthralling and tense second half, Moycullen supporters were on their feet when the team closed the gap to just six points behind with two and a half minutes left on the clock.
Swords Thunder, however, forced two turnovers on the next two Moycullen possessions and converted on the other end to push the lead back to 10 points. With time against them, Moycullen were forced to foul their opponents and put them on the free-throw line. Swords duly converted. Moycullen converted two three-point shots, but they were never able to bridge the gap.
Moyucullen will now be looking to build on this display for the remainder of the season.
SSE Airtricity Moycullen: James Loughnane 17, Phillip Lawrence-Ricks 17, Patrick Lyons 15, Joseph Tummon 11, Paul Freeman 10, Dylan Cunningham 5, Kyle Cunningham 2, Sean Candon, Rory Gilson, Ladmy Sila, John Hackett, Connor Curran.
Moycullen’s U20 men’s team were also in National Cup semi-final action, contesting their third in a row, but similar to their Superleague counterparts, the lads came up just short. A strong and disciplined Kubs team just had that little bit too much on the day, winning 81-67.
Joseph Tummon and John Hackett were found early and often by Kyle Cunningham in the early stages of the game leading to some well-taken scores in the first two quarters. Helped by Joshua Marvesley, who picked up a lot of second chance opportunities, they kept in touch with Kubs throughout the opening half.
However a three-pointer at the half-time buzzer helped the Dubliners head to a seven-point lead, and after a good start to the second half, they stretched the lead. While they halted Moycullen’s inside game and driving options, Moycullen guards Connor Curran and Oisin Carey converted some outside opportunities, helping them narrow the gap to six points with two minutes remaining.
Moycullen created some good opportunities for scores, with fatigue a major issue, the shots did not drop and Kubs were able to safely see the game out.
Moycullen U20: Josh Marvesley 16, Connor Curran 15, Joseph Tummon 14, John Hackett 11, Kyle Cunningham 10, Oisin Carey, Ladmy Sila, Brian Garvey.