Maigh Cuilnn rid themselves of the Demons with first win

A dominant display earned Maigh Cuilnn their first win of the Basketball Ireland Superleague season after they led from start to finish at home against UCC Demons of Cork, the final score reading 60- 53.

The margin at the end flattered the visitors who trailed for large stretches by 15 or more points, and only for a nervy closing couple of minutes from a Maigh Cuilinn side desperate to see out a maiden victory, the gap would have been comfortably in the double digits.

It was all smiles, however, come the final whistle at University of Galway Sports Arena with Maigh Cuilinn head coach John Cunningham particularly pleased by his side’s performance.

“It is no more than we deserved for the work the lads have put in so far this season without any reward,”said Cunningham.

“This win was, as always with us, built on our defence and effort but we had that little spark early on offence by making some big three pointers which were huge to give us momentum and that initial lead which we never really relinquished.”

Maigh Cuilinn enjoyed their best start of the season behind a three-point barrage from Mateo Liberatore and Brian Gaffney. Their opposition from Cork had set out in a 2-3 zone defence, intent on defending close to the basket but this tactic was undone quickly by Maigh Cuilinn’s accuracy from long range.

The free flowing and incisive Maigh Cuilinn attack created an abundance of scoring chances and enough to generate 19 first-quarter points and a five point lead after the period.

The Maigh Cuilinn rhythm on offence continued into the second quarter with Dylan and Kyle Cunningham finding their touch and Ayberk Taylan and Grant Olsson also getting in on the action.

However, the increase in Maigh Cuilinn's defensive intensity turned the screw, stymying Demons attack that had seen them net an average of 90 points over their past five games. And, on the back of a well balanced offence and tenacious defence, Maigh Cuilinn led 42-29 at the break.

In a tight and tense third quarter, Maigh Cuilinn managed to win, but only by a paltry score of seven points to six, but their defence came up trumps when most needed to stifle what would otherwise have been a sure-fire Demons comeback.

With Maigh Cuilnn now entering the final quarter 14 points ahead, they found the necessary steel when needed to achieve a most welcome win as they continue without the prolonged injury absences of James Loughnane, James Connaire and James Lyons.

The league enters a one weekend break now for international play before Maigh Cuilinn hit the road to play games in Dublin and Cork, their next home outing on Friday December 30 at 7pm in the University of Galway Sports Arena against UCD Marian.


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