Moycullen face tough home fixutre against Neptune

Maigh Cuilinn host their first Superleague home fixture of the new season on Sunday against Irish basketball royalty, Neptune of Cork, at 2pm in University of Galway’s Kingfisher Arena.

Having suffered two heavy defeats to Neptune last season, Maigh Cuilinn will be under no illusion of the task ahead, particularly as the Leesiders have strengthened their squad in the hope of reclaiming the top prize which they once all but owned in the 1980s.

Maigh Cuilinn head coach John Cunninghan says without doubt, it is a difficult assignment for a first home game.

“But this is Superleague, there are no easy games. For us, we know the effort will be there. What we need to find on any given day is a spark of scoring, someone to step up and get baskets against what are elite defenders in this league. That is the challenge and that will be the challenge come Sunday,” he says.

A dearth of scoring certainly afflicted Maigh Cuilinn last weekend when they lost to Ballincollig, who topped last season’s table. An early injury to point guard James Loughnane and foul trouble for star American player Grant Olsson doomed what was already an enviable away match-up for the men from Galway in Cork.

The game started with a quick 5-0 run for the home side that was deserving of an 18 to 7 end of the first quarter. A solid Maigh Cuilinn defensive effort kept them in touch, but when first Joe Tummon and the James Lyons hit back-to-back three pointers, the visitors were within five midway through the second quarter.

The game ended as a contest at the start of the third quarter when a 12-3 run for the home side out them into a 46 to 25 lead, while Olsson’s foul trouble left him watching from the bench.

At no point in the second half did Maigh Cuilinn look like having the scoring firepower to get back into the contest and with Ballincollig able to find buckets when needed, the Cork outfit were fair value for their continued dominance for the remainder of the game, finishing 83 to 49.

Coach Cunningham did manage to get valuable early minutes for youngsters Dara Kenna, Rory O’Sullivan and Brian Gaffney, all of whom have the potential to be contributors this year and for years to come.

Maigh Cuilinn Scorers: James Lyons 10, Joseph Tummon 9, Kyle Cunningham 8, Grant Olsson 7, Dara Kenna 4, Dylan Cunninham 3, James Connaire 3, Rory O’Sullivan 2, Ayberk Taylan 2, James Loughnane 1, Briam Gaffney, Liam Maloney.

 

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