NOTE – Change of Tip off confirmed – Now 3.30pm to facilitate referee scheduling
Moycullen U18 Men face St Mary’s Castleisland in the U18 National Cup quarter final on Sunday (Dec 6th) at 3.00pm in the Jes, Galway. Having won their qualifying pool, Moycullen have secured a home draw but know that St Mary’s will provide stern opposition as their only loss in qualifying was to the firm Cup favourites, Neptune. The teams have met a number of times over the years, but always in friendlies, never in competition. Both have their share of internationals with Adam Donoghue, a key man for Castleisland, having starred for Ireland in last years U16 Europeans while Moycullen have three on the current extended U18 panel for next years Europeans, Eoghan Kelly, Connor Curran and John Hackett.
In their qualifying pool, Moycullen had a comfortable first day. Ballincollig were first up and, having lost to them twice in early season play, they had prepared well and learnt their lessons. Good intensity from the start saw them jump into a big early lead that they would never relinquish. In the end, they won 68-43. The second game against St Pauls, Killarney provided a comfortable victory and plenty of court time for all 12 players. With Kubs winning the other pool and Dublin Lions finishing 2nd, Sunday morning would see a semi final encounter with Lions for a place in the last 8.
Despite Lions having been well beaten by Kubs, this was a potential banana skin for Moycullen as Lions style had given Moycullen trouble in pre-season and was destined to do so again. Connor Curran got in early foul trouble and this allowed an already focussed Lions team to narrow their focus even more. The game was up and down for most of the contest but Moycullen seemed to have taken control by securing a double digit lead early in the 4th. However, Lions hit a purple patch and narrowed the gap to 2 only for Moycullen to show greater experience and control down the stretch, eventually winning 57-50.
Kubs easily accounted for Ballincollig in the other semi, setting up a battle with the hosts for a home quarter final. Kubs were a much more balanced team than Lions with threats inside and out. However, their style of game suited Moycullen a bit better and, while never really comfortable, Moycullen were always in control and eventually closed out a 69-59 win. On to the quarter final.