Galway basketball teams face crucial league fixtures

Cregmore-Claregalway FC's U18 girls host Kentstown Ladies FC in the WFAI U18 Cup semi-final on Sunday. Pictured back row, from left, Noel Connolly (manager), Deirdre Walsh, Rebecca Downes, Ciara Murphy, Caitlin Quinn, Emma Connolly, Angie Dempsey, Gerry Gilmore (manager). Front, Emma Conacur, Cliona Ni Chochlin, Ciara Fogarty, Claire Talty, Andrea Trill, Aoife Phillips, Claire Conry. Squad members missing are Karen Connolly, Geraldine O'Connor, Meabh O'Connell, Sinead Donovan, Sarah Egan, Aoife Thompson.       PHOTO: EIREFOTO.COM

Cregmore-Claregalway FC's U18 girls host Kentstown Ladies FC in the WFAI U18 Cup semi-final on Sunday. Pictured back row, from left, Noel Connolly (manager), Deirdre Walsh, Rebecca Downes, Ciara Murphy, Caitlin Quinn, Emma Connolly, Angie Dempsey, Gerry Gilmore (manager). Front, Emma Conacur, Cliona Ni Chochlin, Ciara Fogarty, Claire Talty, Andrea Trill, Aoife Phillips, Claire Conry. Squad members missing are Karen Connolly, Geraldine O'Connor, Meabh O'Connell, Sinead Donovan, Sarah Egan, Aoife Thompson. PHOTO: EIREFOTO.COM

With the clock ticking down to the end of the regular season, the pressure is now on Galway basketball teams to try to move up their respective league tables.

Four crucial games take place this weekend – three of which are on home turf - beginning with NUIG Mystics who host third-place DCU Mercy at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. The Galway women, struggling since their promotion to the Super League, will be hoping to bounce back after their loss down in Cork to Singleton SuperValu Brunell. It will be a tough ask for Mike Murray’s charges against an in-form Mercy side, which has been enjoying a solid run this season.

At 5pm on Saturday, the action moves to Oranmore and Calasanctius College for one of the biggest games of the weekend. Local side Maree takes on BFG Neptune, with both teams top of their respective conference tables. Each has suffered just one loss, so this hugely-anticipated clash will leave the winner in prime position going into the business end of the season.

Elsewhere in the men’s division One, Galway side Titans also play at home in a must-win clash with ITC Basketball. Both sides are bottom of their respective conferences, with ITC Basketball going into the game with two wins and 10 losses following their shock win over Ej Sligo All-Stars last weekend in Carlow. Titans, meanwhile, have just one win under their belts from 12 games and will need to pick up a win this weekend.

The last game sees SSE Airtricity Moycullen travel north to face Belfast Star in the men’s Super League at 7pm on Saturday. These two teams know each other well, having met in both cup and league this season, although Moycullen have prevailed this season in their previous clashes, Belfast will be looking for revenge.

Moycullen will take confidence from an important win at home last weekend against UCC Demons when they prevailed by 85-83.

A solid opening quarter gave Moycullen a 10-point lead, but the second went the way of the visitors as they put together a 15-0 run and edged ahead by 10. A James Loughnane three-pointer finally got the Connemara men off the mark and scores from Patrick Lyons and Joesph Tummon cut the deficit to three at half time.

The teams were inseparable in the third quarter with Lyons continuing his man-of-the-match performance, but in the dying moments of the third quarter, Demons hit a jump shot to keep them two points up.

The fourth quarter proved a thriller with both sides playing with intensity. It came down to the final minute when a Dylan Cunningham layup gave Moycullen the narrowest of leads. A big block from Paul Freeman on the next possession ensured the game would go down to the wire, and after Demons failed to hit the mark, Tummon pulled down the rebound and was fouled. He went to the freethrow line and hit one of his two shots to give Moycullen a two-point lead.

SSE Airtricity Moycullen: P Lyons, P Lawrence-Ricks, J Loughnane, J Tummon, P Freeman, D Cunningham, R Gilson, S Candon, O Carey, J Hakcett, L Sila. Coach, J Cunningham, asst coach, Gerald Lyons.

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