Date: 4th November 2018
Venue: St Vincent’s Sports Centre, Dublin
DCU Saints 85 (42)
Moycullen 83 (47)
Moycullen found themselves on the receiving end of a heart-breaking and dramatic loss on Sunday when two free-throws by DCU Saint’s Michael Bonaparte gave the home side an 85 to 83 victory.
The men from Galway looked the more assured for large stretches of the contest and were odds-on to repeat their success at this venue last season when they jumped out to an early six point led by baskets from returning captain Paddy Lyons and an in-form Cian Nihill.
Fresh from his exploits in helping the club’s U18 side secure a home All-Ireland quarter-final, Moycullen youngster Paul Kelly was also to the fore in the early goings, connecting with his U18 coach Dylan Cunningham for some superb fast break scores.
Moycullen were to hold that lead for the majority of the opening half and led at the break by five, 42 to 47.
Signs of trouble were always present however with the dominant duo of Bonaparte and Martins Provisors causing considerable damage for Saints close to the basket.
The game had quickly fallen into a discernible pattern with Moycullen looking to exploit their youth and quickness by keeping the game up-tempo while DCU Saints reveled in a slower, more methodical form of attack.
It provided for a fascinating contrast in styles and whilst the Moycullen faithful won’t have enjoyed seeing the well-worked inter-play between Bonaparte and Provisors (who combined for 52 points on the evening) some of their inside play was a joy to watch.
As the second half developed, it was the offensive rebounding and consistent inside scoring of Saints that led the way. Moycullen were also suffering from some devastating foul trouble causing Isaiah Harris Winn, Dylan Cunningham and Joe Tummon to spend extended minutes on the bench.
After clawing back the deficit, Saints powered on with their vocal home support behind them and looked like possibly running away with the game in the closing stretch as they led by eight points with two minutes to go.
Back to back three-pointers from Nihill reignited the contest and after some very tight officiating from the referees resulted in the teams swapping free throws, the game was level with 30 seconds remaining and the ball with DCU Saints.
Moycullen played a good defence and looked to have forced Bonaparte out over the end line with the shot clock expiring. Unfortunately, a blocking foul was administered at the death of the play sending the veteran Bonaparte to the free throw line for two.
He coolly slotted both with only four seconds showing on the game clock. Without any timeouts to set up a last play, Moycullen captain Paddy Lyons made a great move to weave his way all the way up the court and to the Saints basket only to see his attempt bobble out as the final buzzer sounded.
Moycullen Scorers: Cian Nihill (26), Isaiah Harris Winn (14), Dylan Cunningham (12), Kyle Cunningham (10), Patrick Lyons (10), Joe Tummon (8), Paul Kelly (3), James Lyons, Daniel Arimoro, William Onyenweson, Connor Curran