Final Score: Moycullen 66 – 71 UCD Marian
By Steven Heaney
MOYCULLEN’S Superleague side were unfortunate not to have secured their third win in as many games this past weekend.
Despite a strong home performance overall, Moycullen simply came up against a highly efficient UCD Marian side, who were able to close out a game that could have easily gone the other way.
In the first quarter, with the starting players on both teams were slow to get things moving offensively, it was the players who came off of the bench that really ignited the game.
James Conaire chipped in five early points coming off the bench for the home side, while also holding his own defensively against some of UCD’s more Superleague-seasoned players.
At the end of a low scoring quarter for both teams, Moycullen were trailing by the narrowest of margins, 15 – 14.
In the second, Moycullen continued to get some solid minutes, and some key offensive-rebounding from players like Conaire and Josh Marvesely, and the extra possessions these rebounds generated facilitated some long-range scores from players like Dylan Cunningham, Joseph Tummon and Grant Olsson.
UCD though were also shooting well from distance, and a late three-pointer from Jamie Muldowney upped the Dubliners lead to five, just before the halftime whistle.
The third quarter was Moycullen’s best of the game.
They moved the ball incredibly well on offense, never rushing things, and never settling for contested shots. Behind the offensive play of Paul Kelly, Daniel Vila and Dylan Cunningham, Moycullen briefly took the lead.
As had happened in the previous quarter though, and just as Moycullen had begun to gather some momentum, UCD connected on some key late-scores to flip the scoreboard back into their favour entering the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, both sides played some exceptional basketball especially on the defensive end.
Grant Olsson had an excellent contribution on the offensive end and he provided the scoring punch for Moycullen; while the UCD inside -outside combination of Scott Kinevane and Mariusz Markowicz proved tough for Moycullen to handle defensively.
With nothing between the sides and two minutes remaining, UCD Marian’s US player Mike Garrow hit another crucial three-point shot, giving the South Dublin outfit the lead and setting up a tense final few possessions.
Even with UCD Marian playing excellent defence, Moycullen were able to get two great looks at 3’s themselves. However, when first Kyle Cunningham’s and then Grant Olsson’s attempts rimmed out when it looked like they would drop, the home team were forced to stop the clock and put their opposition to the line.
When UCD knocked down each of their final few free-throws the result was put to bed.
While disappointed with the result, Moycullen head coach John Cunningham had no qualms about falling to a clinical UCD side:
“Not the result we wanted but can’t complain about the performance,” he said.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game with three mins to go but UCD’s defense was such that we just couldn’t find the baskets we needed.
“Unfortunately, with the quality that’s across the board in the league, a good performance often doesn’t get us over the line,” he added.
Moycullen’s Superleague side now have a two-week break before they welcome Belfast Star to the NUI Kingfisher on Feb 1.
This coming weekend will see a rematch of sorts however, as Moycullen’s U20 side travel to the National Basketball Arena for an U20 National Cup Final game against UCD Marian on Saturday.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (18), James Conaire (12), Dylan Cunningham (10), Paul Kelly (8), Daniel Vila (8), Paddy Lyons (5), Joshua Marvesely (2), Joseph Tummon (3), Kyle Cunningham, Conor Curran, Dara Kenna, James Lyons