Maigh Cuilinn seek Superleague scalp at home to Neptune

The rugged beauty of Leitir Móir awaits the most storied club in Irish basketball when perennial powerhouse Neptune of Cork take to the Spórtlann Mhichael Mhóir court against Maigh Cuilinn in the latest round of Superleague action.

A growing Na Gael club based in Leitir Móir doing a huge amount of work and tapping into a rich if under-heralded basketball history in west Connemara, is at the heart of Maigh Cuilinn’s recent forays to the venue for a Superleague game.

The trip will not be one Neptune will be looking forward to, both for its sheer distance from north inner city Cork, and also because of the growing sense of confidence within this Maigh Cuilinn team that it can take scalps from the larger clubs.

There is none bigger than Neptune, who have won the Superleague more times than any other in Irish basketball team in history, and reigned supreme in particular through the glory years of the 1980s.

Maigh Cuilinn boast a proud history of their own however, and although the two clubs’ respective silverware cabinets might not be exactly equal, they do hold the same amount of wins in this season’s Superleague. It is five apiece, with the Galway outfit in a better run of form.

The key deciding factor may be the health of Maigh Cuilinn’s top scorer and captain Grant Olsson who has missed a significant amount of game time through an Achilles injury that has refused to budge.

A veritable tour de force on the court, it is Olsson’s physicality and bottomless energy that is usually at the heart of everything good for Maigh Cuilinn and if they are to topple the rebels Sunday he will need to be playing and be a major factor.

On the Neptune side of the ledger, Irish internationals Roy Downey and Jordan Blount can be a deadly shooting duo when on form while the veteran and wily Nil Sabata has in the past proved a match up nightmare inside for Maigh Cuilinn. If the home team holds that trio in check, Maigh Cuilinn will surely go a long way to recording what would be a crucial victory in a clash between middle of the table teams who are both hovering simultaneously in the relegation danger zone but who both still have a realistic chance to make the playoffs.

Last weekend, Maigh Cuilinn let a chance of a major upset slip through their fingers when they had reigning Superleague champions Ballincollig on the ropes. After a back and forth contest where just a point separated the teams at the half and only a single basket was the margin coming down the stretch in the fourth and final quarter, the visitors found all the right plays when it counted to run out flattering winners 77 v 90.


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