ALSAA Centre, Dublin – Saturday 17th February 2018
Basketball Ireland Men’s Superleague table
Swords Thunder 81 (40)
Moycullen 61 (36)
Moycullen’s postseason playoff hopes took a possibly fatal blow on Saturday evening when a late game scoring drought led to a road loss to second placed Swords Thunder in Dublin.
Having trailed by just four at the half and only three late in the third quarter, Moycullen could only manage nine points over the closing 12 minutes of play enroute to an 81 to 61 defeat.
“It’s a tough one to take and means that we have to win all three of our remaining games and hope for some favourable results elsewhere to get into the top six,” said Moycullen captain James Loughnane after the final whistle.
“We played well on defence, holding a team like Swords to 81 isn’t bad, but we just couldn’t find any rhythm on offence all night and that cost us.”
A home matchup with cup champions Templeogue on Sunday coming in NUIG (3pm tip off) awaits Moycullen, who will need a greater scoring output on that occasion to topple their opponents from the capital.
They will also be hoping for a return to action of star wing-man Dylan Cunningham, who was forced to sit out the weekend’s contest as a result of a knee injury sustained in training.
A bright spot from the loss to Swords Thunder will have been the play of Cunningham’s younger brother Kyle who slotted into the starting role left vacant by his elder sibling’s departure. The younger of the Cunningham brothers contributed a personal tally of 13 points and had a fine game overall.
Early on in the contest Moycullen looked a likely bet to get the better of Swords for the second straight time this season, having won the side’s earlier encounter in Galway.
A four point deficit at the half on this occasion, while a fair reflection on Sword’s slightly superior play throughout the first two quarters, did bode well for a Moycullen team that had not yet played well on offence and promised to hit greater heights in the third and fourth periods.
The engine never quite kicked into gear however and while Brandon McGuire showed his usual deft touch from behind the three point line, Moycullen failed to find him frequently enough to keep their score in touch with the home side.
A major difficulty for Moycullen was the sheer length of Swords Thunder, who had a height advantage at every position on the court. This length forced Moycullen in bad passes and a stagnant offence that resulted in just 16 third quarter points and a measly 9 in the fourth quarter.
While a tough loss to take – as it leaves them two games behind sixth with three matches to play – Moycullen can at least look forward to returning home next weekend and a meeting with a Templeogue side they led for the majority of the game when the side’s met in Dublin in November before losing out by just six.
Moycullen Scorers: Brandon McGuire 23, Kyle Cunningham 13, James Loughnane 11, Paul Freeman 6, Joseph Tummon 5, Connor Curran 3, Cian Nihill, Patrick Lyons
Categories: Men's Superleague, Mens, News