A superb first half laid the foundations for a controlled and solid performance from our U20 Men’s team which saw them secure a hard fought win against an outstanding Templeogue side last Sunday afternoon in Neptune Stadium, Cork.
The victory on a scoreline of 88 – 75 sees the lads through to the U20 National Cup Final for the fourth time in the clubs history and the team will be hoping that they can equal the achievements of their club mates from 2008 & 2015 who went all the way and win the National Cup, interestingly the first of those also saw us play this years opponents UCD Marian in the final.
Moycullen could have been a little bit distracted with the news that James Cummins was unable to travel due to illness but they didn’t let the unfortunate news affect them as the faced the U18 National Cup Champions from 2 years ago and the U16 All Ireland Champions from 4 years ago.
A back and forth first 5 minutes of the game where James Lyons & James Connaire were the two main reasons that Moycullen were able to stay in touch against a red hot Templeogue side and there was nothing between the sides.
However the last 5 minutes of the quarter proved crucial as the lads gained a foothold on the game with Matthew Donnelan going on an 8 point scoring run and when Padraig Lenihan & James Connaire got the last two scores of the quarter it was suddenly a 10 point lead; 25 – 15.
The second quarter started in blistering fashion with Tommy McNeela hitting two huge 3’s to push the lead out to 14 points. Try as they did, Templeogue were never able to get into the quarter and anytime Moycullen’s efforts were anywhere around the basket Gerard Davoren was there to mop up the offensive rebounds and provide a platform for another attempt which Connaire, Lenihan & Lyons duly took advantage of. With Paul Kelly & Dara Kenna doing a great job on the defensive end, the lead had gone out to 17 points by the time the first half came to an end; 47 – 30.
It was vital that Templeogue didn’t get a good start to the second half and while Moycullen’s normally fluid offence came to halt with only two free throws to show in the opening 2 1/2 minutes, crucially the defence came them afloat with Templeogue only bagging 5 points in the same period. Once again it was McNeela to the fore to get things started with a huge 3. Lyons, Kelly & Davoren got on the end of some great ball movement and it looked like the storm had been weathered and when Donnellan hit two free throws it was now a 21 point lead going into the 4th quarter; 68 – 47.
Templeogue were never going to lie down and they came rocking out of the blocks to start the 4th quarter and they edged back into the game when the brought the lead down to 15. Kelly and Lenihan responded to steady the ship once again but credit to the Dublin outfit they once again responded to make the last few minutes tense for the Moycullen faithful but the lads were always in control as they saw out a superb win on a final scoreline of 88 – 75.
The lads now face UCD Marian in the 2020 National Cup Final on Saturday 25th January at 11:30am in the National Basketball Arena. Having brushed aside the challenge of Portlaoise in the other semi, the South Dublin outfit are a formidable team who have an abundance of talent all over the floor. Obviously Moycullen are looking forward to the game but know that only their best performance will see them prevail and get their hands on the National Cup.
Roll on Saturday!!!!!!
Moycullen: Paul Kelly, Ke vyn Burke, Paddy Lenihan, Tommy McNeela, Matthew Donnellan, James Connaire, Cormac Croke, William, Onyenson, Paul Culkeen, James Lyons, Dara Kenna, Gerard Davoren, Fiachra Mulkerrins. Also on the squad: James Cummins, Martin O’Conghnaile, James Duggan, James Wall, Neil Kelly, Iarlaith O’Sullivam , Daniel Arimoro
Watch the game back:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbgFHZF0AI8&t=1s
Listen to coach Gerald Lyons after the game here.