Moycullen basketball hopes it's a weekend to remember

On the day their footballers aim to make a second county final in three years, Maigh Cuilinn’s basketballers will be hoping it will be a sporting day to remember when they host Killorglin of Kerry in the Basketball Ireland Superleague, at the earlier than usual tip off time of 1.45pm.

With the earlier start designed for those going from the hoops match at University of Galway Sports Arena down to Pearse Stadium and the GAA action later in the day, Maigh Cuilinn promises to provide a stern test for their opponents from the kingdom.

Memories of last season’s classic between these sides in Galway will no doubt spring to mind for supporters, when an Eoghan Kelly free throw at the death secured a one point win for the men from Galway.

However, Maigh Cuilinn head coach John Cunningham knows achieving a repeat result over Killorglin this year will take a special effort.

Ravaged by injuries, including to arguably their two key players, American star Grant Olsson and starting point guard James Loughnane, Maigh Cuilinn have had to rely sooner than expected on a young cohort of upcoming talent.

“Looking ahead to next weekend, a lot will depend on the injury picture and how it evolves, “ Cunningham says.

“Regardless of that, we got a lot out of the last two games in terms of other players stepping into bigger roles. It is hard for youngsters to be consistent, and so where we have had 30 good minutes, we need 40. If we can get that, we have a great chance.”

Maigh Cuilinn are coming off the back of a loss in Cork where, given their injuries, they were surprisingly competitive for large stretches against UCC Demons before fading to an 85-60 final scoreline that flattered the hosts.

A free-flowing first quarter failed to separate the teams and two free throws from U18 star Liam Maloney in the final seconds left the score 22-18 in favour of the Cork men.

It was the visitors who started the second period the best as baskets from James Connaire and Joseph Tummon had Maigh Cuilinn in the lead 29-30 with five minutes showing until half time.

However, with an upset very much on the cards if the young Maigh Cuilinn side could hold its form, Demons hit a sublime purple patch and a devastating 22-6 run saw the game blown wide open ensuring the Cork side enjoyed a comfortable 52-35 half-time lead.

Not to be deterred, Maigh Cuilinn, started the third with determination, and good showings from Dara Kenna, Ayberk Taylan and Brian Gaffney quickly had the Demons lead back to only six points (52-46 ).

Maigh Cuilinn were unable to press home the advantage, however, and while they had chances, they could never regain the lead. They won the quarter overall, but Demons steadied the ship as the third period ended with Demons still 15 points ahead.

Having expended such energy, Maigh Cuilinn understandably lagged in the final period, and with the result growing beyond doubt, Demons hit some wonderful scores to pad the final scoreline 85 to 60.


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