Moycullen 69 Pyrobel Killester 60 Steven Heaney
MOYCULLEN’s SUPERLEAGUE side were gifted with a late Christmas present this past weekend, as they overcame Cup Champions Killester in the NUI Galway Kingfisher.
Moycullen managed to hold their nerve and upset the odds, in what was a low-scoring slugfest of a game.
The opening period saw a handful of lead changes, and though Moycullen’s offense took some time to get going, they were able to hold Killester to an even lower-scoring points tally.
In the second quarter, Moycullen displayed a more well-balanced scoring output. Their American players, Grant Olsson and Daniel Vila, each got on the scoreboard, as did Paddy Lyons and Dylan Cunningham.
Killester, missing a couple of key men through injury, were missing a reliable scoring option, and Moycullen were quick to take advantage of this fact.
By halftime, Moycullen had opened up a 9-point lead, allowing only 31 points from their Dublin opposition.
In the third quarter, Moycullen began to slowly add to their lead. Their defense continued to look solid; while Paul Kelly, Olsson and Dylan Cunningham kept the scoreboard ticking over on the opposite end.
Try as they might, Killester could not get past Moycullen. The Galway men contested every shot, and ran their opponents off the three-point line at every opportunity. Behind this defense play, Killester only scored 11 points in the third quarter.
The game continued in this vein for the first few minutes of the final period, and with roughly five minutes to play, Moycullen held and 18-point lead.
At that stage though, Moycullen appeared to take their foot off the gas somewhat.
Killester connected on a pair of quick three-pointers, and on some foul shots, and Moycullen’s lead shrank to 10 points in an instant.
The last couple of minutes then became nervous ones for the home faithful.
Killester had managed to cut the lead all the way back to five, before Joseph Tummon stepped up and hit a huge shot to break the Killester scoring run.
When Grant Olsson hit a pair of late free throws on the next possession, Moycullen knew they had done enough to secure the upset.
“We played some excellent basketball at both ends in the first half and, despite struggling at the offensive end as the game wore on, our defence never let up- that was the difference,” said Moycullen head Coach John Cunningham after the game.
“Any win in this league is a big win and with the way the games fell, we had to ask for some big sacrifices over Christmas and in particular around Stephens Night which is usually a big event in Moycullen tied in with our Christmas blitz. Thankfully, the guys got their reward today.,” he added.
Moycullen are now one game behind Killester in the league, and they will be hoping to lift themselves off of the second-from-bottom position when they take on DCU Saints in Dublin next weekend.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (17), Dylan Cunningham (12), Paddy Lyons (11), Joseph Tummon (10), Paul Kelly (8), James Conaire (4), Daniel Vila (3), Josh Marvesely (2), Conor Curran (1), Kyle Cunningham, James Lyons, Paul O’ Brien