Moycullen U20 Men’s team came up just short in nearly overturning a 9 point deficit going into the 4th quarter in a pulsating National Cup semi-final against St Vincent’s on Sunday afternoon. In what was an intriguing game St Vincent’s prevailed on a score line of 65 – 68 but only after Moycullen showed unbelievable grit and determination in coming oh so close to the victory with a 3 point shot at the buzzer just coming up short and thus ending Moycullen dreams of back to back U20 National Cup titles.
The team defending the title admirably all year but Vincent’s just had that little bit too much on the day and saw out the win in a game that was full of controversy, tight calls, scoring runs and real quality with Moycullen having 3 Premier League players and St Vincent’s having 4 of their own.
The start of the game gave some indication of what was to come, a nip and tuck affair with one team edging ahead only for the other to pull back the deficit. The Dublin outfit set out there stall early, full court denying Kyle Cunningham who was in blistering form during the campaign while looking for their scoring leaders Graham Brannelly & Martin Neary. The Dublin outfit built up a 5 point lead midway through the quarter but Moycullen responded in king to level the game at 15 each by the end of the quarter. With defences dominating in large stretches it was an absorbing contest.
The 2nd quarter followed a similar pattern, Vincent’s pegged back Moycullen and went ahead only for the lads from the West to respond in kind; a 3 from one side was met with a 3 from the other. While defence had been king in the 1st, both teams offences were beginning to click in this quarter and midway through Moycullen began to gain a bit of a foothold and when Kyle Cunningham & Sean Candon connected at the end of some great ball movement there was 8 points between the teams at the end of the half 41 -33.
The 3rd quarter started very similar to the 1st; defences on top with neither team able to get decent looks at the basket and while the lead had been reduced slightly there was still 4 points between the team after 5 minutes. The last 5 minutes proved to be a different matter, Vincent’s began to both knock down some tough contested 3’s and gain control of the offensive boards through Conor Gilligan. What was a 4 point Moycullen lead was now a 7 point deficit with 1 minute remaining. While it was a big swing and momentum was definitely with the Dublin outfit, Moycullen appeared to weather the storm but the last play of the quarter summed up the 10 minutes, some good ball movement by Vincent’s was met with equally good defence from Moycullen only for Shane Davidson to hit the most improbable of floaters from outside the paint after a tough spin move to leave 9 points between the teams 53- 62.
It was now do or die time for Moycullen entering the 4th quarter and with their backs against the wall they responded like true champions by increasing their intensity and tightening up their defence and moving the ball much quicker on the offensive end. This better ball movement on offence was generating some good looks at the basket and with Eoghan Kelly, Sean Kelly & Joshua Marvelsey beginning to find holes in the Vincent’s defence the deficit was slowly but surely coming down. After 7 minutes the lead was down to 2 and it looked like Moycullen might complete the comeback. A good inside finish from Joe Tummon was answered byScott Dermody. Kyle Cunningham made a tough layup only for Cathal Barron to respond. With solid defence from both teams the game came down to the last 12 seconds with 3 points in it; a tough shot on the buzzer from Cunningham just came up short and so the dream ended for Moycullen and St Vincent’s were into the final. While the Moycullen team came up that little bit short, they defending their crown admirably and while disappointed they can be proud of their efforts.
Kyle Cunningham 24, Joseph Tummon 10, Sean Candon 11, Eoghan Kelly 8, Sean Kelly 4, John Hackett 3, Joshua Marvesley 3, Rory Heffernan 2, Conor Egan, Connor Curran, Jack Costelloe, Darragh Mulkerrins