Moycullen 75 – 70 Griffith College Templeogue
By Steven Heaney
MOYCULLEN’S Superleague side caused something of an upset in their final home game before Christmas on Saturday 16th November, securing an impressive win against Griffith College Templeogue.
After having narrowly lost out to Neptune last week, Moycullen will be delighted to have reversed their fortunes against one of the league’s top sides.
A strong opening period, and an even stronger final period, helped get Moycullen over the line in an exciting game that had over a dozen lead-changes.
Irish internationals and U20 Stars Paul Kelly and James Conaire played out of their skin for Moycullen early on, each netting 7 points in the first quarter, pushing Moycullen out to a 5-point lead.
Templeogue, though missing their inside talisman Jason Kileen, couldn’t be denied for too long however. Their American player, Darren Townes, went to work in the post buoyed the Dubliners offense, allowing them to get back into the proceedings.
Behind his strong play, Templeogue managed to flip the scoreboard, opening up a 5-point lead of their own just before halftime.
In the third quarter the sides went score-for-score. Dylan Cunningham and Dan Vila provided some much-needed leadership for Moycullen, scoring the ball when Moycullen’s offense didn’t seem to be clicking. Moycullen couldn’t build up the momentum to close the gap too much.
The final quarter was a different story however. Templeogue began to slow the tempo in an attempt to prevent Moycullen gathering the attacking edge, and while this worked for a couple of minutes, Moycullen found the answers, and then some.
Kyle Cunningham was superb in the second half and Moycullen’s own American player, Grant Olsson, came to life at just the right time. He chipped in a massive 12 points for Moycullen in the final quarter alone.
With less than two minutes to go, an unlikely but fortuitous own-basket from Templeogue propelled Moycullen back into the lead.
Then with less than a minute on the clock, Kyle stepped up and nailed a dagger of a three-point shot, putting the Connemara men up 5, and causing the home fans to erupt.
On the next offense, a quick three-pointer from the visitors would make for a nervy final few moments.
Forced to foul to stop the clock, Grant Olsson had to go to the freethrow line in an attempt to put the result beyond doubt. Olsson coolly netted four points from four attempts, sealing a crucial victory in what was an absolutely thrilling game of basketball.
“We’re delighted to get this one tonight, we were due an upset like this,” Moycullen coach John Cunningham said after the game.
“We have a run of four away games ahead of us, but we’ve had two games in a row with everyone available and this stability will hopefully stand to us on what is a tough run,” he added.
The win lifts Moycullen a game above their local rivals Maree, who they will play in a pre-Christmas local derby on December 14th.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (17), James Conaire (11), Paul Kelly (13), Dylan Cunningham (10), Daniel Vila (10), Kyle Cunningham (7), Conor Curran (5), Paddy Lyons (2), Josh Marvesely, Joseph Tummon, James Lyons, Dara Kenna