SSE Renewables Moycullen put in a battling performance tonight against a strong Bord Gais Neptune side in the National Cup at NUIG Kingfisher. The big crowd present got plenty to cheer about as Moycullen brought it back to a 5 point game with 4 minutes to go. While Neptune finished the stronger, the home team worked them right to the end. This sets up an intriguing encounter with Dublin International, same time, same venue next week.
Facing a big deficit from the first leg, the team were looking for a much better performance than the previous week in Cork and while they eventually lost to the reigning Cup champions they can feel somewhat pleased with the manner in which they played on Saturday evening. If they can bring in that aspect of the game to their remaining fixtures before Christmas they will be hopeful of getting some results.
The game started off well for SSE Renewables Moycullen and they were soon into an early lead primarily through the efforts of Mike Callaghan, who once again was excellent throughout, and Dylan Cunningham. Neptune aren’t Cup Champions for nothing and they set about getting to grips to the game and by the end of the quarter they had edged ahead by 7 points.
The second quarter was a high scoring affair and with both teams executing well on offense the game was turning into a ding-dong battle much to the delight of the large crowd present. A pleasing aspect of this quarter from SSE Renewables Moycullen’s point of view was the much better scoring spread with 6 players getting on the scoring sheet. Darragh Mulkerrins put in a great stint on both ends of the court as did his under 18 colleague Sean Candon. With Gerald Lyons hitting a huge 3 the home team were mounting a comeback but crucially Neptune answered with Gary Walsh proving clinical from the free throw line to leave 9 between the teams at the half.
Although SSE Renewables Moycullen struck first to start the third quarter Neptune settled much better and with much excellent execution despite the best efforts of Eoghan Maxwell they stretched out their lead
A good start to the final quarter was crucial and with Paul O’Brien catching fire to aid Cunningham & Callaghan, SSE Renewables Moycullen set about reeling in the Neptune lead. Relentless defense was leading to some excellent fast break scores for the home team and slowly but surely the gap was coming down. With 2 minutes to go the lead was down to 5 and with the momentum and crowd now behind Moycullen the comeback was within sight. However, a missed goal-tending call coupled with a big 3 on the subsequent Neptune possession from Walsh settled the visitors and they saw the game out from the free-throw line the rest of the way.
Overall a much better team performance from the home team and with Dublin Inter visiting next weekend for a League encounter, SSE Renewables Moycullen will be hoping that they can take the positives from this performance into what is a crucial phase of the league campaign. Tip-off next Saturday is once again 6:30pm in the Kingfisher.
Mike Callaghan 33, Paul O’Brien 16, Dylan Cunningham 14, Darrag Mulkerrins 5, Eoghan Maxwell 4, Sean Candon 4, Gerald Lyons 3, Ian Burke 1, Stephen O’Brien 1, Tomas Gilson, Evan Costelloe, Ronan O’Sullivan