Moycullen travel to Athlone at the weekend for their second U13 Boys Community Games Finals in a row. Having secured third place last year the team will be hopeful of going a step further and reaching the final. However, with only two players returning, comparisons to last year are pretty irrelavant. Paul Kelly and Tommie McNeela are the returning players and they provide both the experience and leadership that will be important on such a big occasion. The team is a mix of the club U13 and U12’s due to the age limit being based in August rather than January and, while this is always a difficult merger to manage, the team has come together well over the Summer and the younger guys have more than held their own. Indeed, young guns, Eanna Davoren and Rhys Plower, have forced their way into the starting line-up. The team has played a number of friendlies against the remainder of the clubs U13 players (and even some U14’s) and by the end of the Summer were matching up well.
Little is know about the opposition. They face Donagh from Monaghan in the semi-final. Donagh have built up a good tradition of attendance at Community Games, following on in the tradition of Castleblayney from a previous generation, and with their links to the Blackwater Steelers club, they have a good basketball base. Similarly, Currow/Currans from Kerry and Kill/Johnstown who square off in the other semi final are linked to strong basketball clubs, St Brigids in Kerry and Liffey Celtics. Kill/Johnstown won their games in Leinster by big margins while Currow/Currans got past perennial powerhouse, Castleisland, so the competition will be hot. The good thing about not knowing much about the opposition is that the team has had to focus on what they can do themselves and they have worked diligently on maximising their strengths (and hiding their weaknesses!!) Only Saturday and Sunday will tell if the work will be rewarded.
Team: Paul Kelly (Capt), Tommie McNeela, Eoghan O’Reilly, Mark Heffernan, Eanna Davoren, Rhys Plower, Daniel Hackett, James McLaughlin and Mark Tobin.
Sat 9am vs Donagh – Athlone IT
Sun 9am or 10am vs Winner/Loser of 2nd Semi – Athlone IT
Thanks to John Cunningham who is coaching the team and also provided this excellent preview.