Relegation from Superleague confirmed for Maigh Cuilinn

Maigh Cuilinn’s final Superleague home game of the season this Saturday night will be a bitter-sweet affair. The Connemara side have been relegated to the National League following a defeat at the buzzer last weekend.

The 7.30pm tip off against Tralee Warriors promises a big crowd for Maigh Cuilinn's last Superleague game until at least the 2025/2026 season. Having been the first Galway side to reach the top tier in Irish basketball back in 2009, they will play in the lower National League next September.

A shot from Aitor Perez that ricocheted around the ring but ultimately bounced out as time expired sealed a two point loss on the road. Templeogue of Dublin ran out winners, taking Maigh Cuilinn's last chance at redemption with them.

Maigh Cuilinn can tie with Neptune if they win against Tralee and the Cork outfit lose to league champions Ballincollig on Friday night. However, the Lee-siders have the head to head advantage and so will survive.

Head coach John Cunningham, who scored the first basket for Maigh Cuilinn in that historic 2009 debut at Superleague level against a star studded UL Eagles team, will be eager to finish on a high note on Saturday.

“Superleague has been an incredible journey and we hope that with a good year next season, we can get promoted. But for now, we just want to finish on a high and it would be amazing to do that in front of our supporters with a win on Saturday.

“Tralee Warriors have been one of the top teams now for the last five or so years and I suppose, why not try to finish with a bang and cause a nice little shock at the death,” Cunningham said.

Saturday’s clash against Templeogue was one they really should have won but lost by just a single basket, 66 to 64. A stellar defensive showing kept the usually high scoring Dublin team to a measly 66 points.

As has been the case in recent years, Maigh Cuilinn failed to garner any consistent rhythm in attack. The game was crying out for someone to get ‘hot’ and string a couple of three pointers together to blow the game open.

Try as they did, Maigh Cuilinn could never find that spark. Their quarter scoring rate of 13, 18, 14 and 21 simply left them too much to withstand on the defensive end to eke out a win.

That said, they had their chances at victory throughout, in a game that saw eight ties and six different lead changes.

Credit to the stalwarts of Templeogue, Lorcan Murphy and Neil Randolph, who had the steady heads down the stretch to edge out a slugfest. Murphy scored a rather spectacular reverse lay up before teammate Vernon Jackson benefited from a friendly bounce. He then gathered an offensive rebound and put in what would prove to be the winning score.

The final attempt from Perez of Maigh Cuilinn came via good drives by Grant Olsson and James Connaire to create space. The Perez three-point attempt fell short however, and with it, Maigh Cuilinn’s chances at Superleague survival.

 

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