Moycullen 73 (42)
Ballincollig 86 (41)
A disastrous start to the second half cost Moycullen’s Superleague basketball side their first win of the season despite an otherwise stellar display against the undefeated league leaders Ballincollig of Cork who left Galway with a deserved 73 to 86 victory.
After a tense and thrilling first two quarters of play, Moycullen led by one point at the halftime interval behind some tenacious defence and clever offensive play. The boisterous home crowd had every right to believe a maiden win was on the cards. A stuttering start to the third quarter, where they scored only six points in five minutes of play and conceded 17, left Moycullen with a mountain to climb that they never managed to summit.
An inspiring run mid way through the fourth quarter had the home side back to within two points but the energy exerted to do so was obvious and preceded a final Ballincollig onslaught with the men from the rebel county flattered by a winning margin of 13 points.
“We just had a spell which we are a little prone to,” said Moycullen head coach John Cunningham after full-time.
Despite the final result, there was plenty for Coach Cunningham to be hopeful about for the remainder of the season to come.
“I think we are getting there, I hope we are getting there. It is tough to be losing … but I feel like we are making progress and that’s all we can do.”
One clear positive for Moycullen was the outstanding effort of point guard Eoghan Kelly who put on a veritable clinic in how to break a full court pressing defence, which was employed by an athletic Ballincollig team that would undoubtedly have caused consternation save for Kelly’s astute play.
While he chipped in eight points on the scoresheet, Kelly’s primary contribution lay in his driving forcefulness and steady hand at the guard spot throughout the contest. It was not enough to get Moycullen over the line for their first victory.
“We have yet to put together a really strong 40 minutes in one game. We have played great for stretches and then just had spells where we concede scores way too easily and lose our rhythm on offence,” said Kelly.
“We know we have the talent to win games in this league. We have great depth in the squad and the spirit within the camp is excellent. We just need to stick with it and the results will follow.”
The contest started off at a rip roaring pace. Moycullen were out of the blocks early with successive three pointers in the opening exchanges from Josh Marvesley giving the Galway side the first lead.
Ballincollig showed why they have yet to be defeated in Superleague to date however and some fine scores by Irish internationals Adrian O’Sullivan and Keelan Cairns along with American Andre Nation pegged the visitors back within minutes.
A hectic late surge in the first quarter had Ballincollig ahead, 19 points to 24 but the margin was soon brought back level as Moycullen’s Grant Olsson in particular featured heavily.
Indeed, Olsson’s excellent play inside was causing an increasing problem for Ballincollig and, coupled with the shrewd guard play of the Kelly brothers Eoghan and Paul, Moycullen were well deserving of their one point half time lead, 42 to 41.
The game turned in opening five minutes of the third quarter however as Moycullen failed to play offence with the same decisiveness they showed in the first
half. Some forced passes into Olsson inside led to repeated turnovers which Ballincollig converted into easy scores on the fast break.
Moycullen also had a number of defensive trips where they played well for most of the possession before making just one mistake on rotations, which the visitors seemed to expertly exploit on every occasion.
It all resulted in what was a one point Moycullen lead at the half becoming a ten point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Moycullen rallied gamely in the final period. Their defensive intensity picked up as they threw every effort at the contest in the search for a first win. Two three pointers from Joe Tummon and a brace of buckets from Eoghan Kelly and Olsson had Moycullen within just two points with four minutes to go and the decibel levels from the home crowd rising.
Ballincollig showed true class in steadying the ship to see out the game and well worked scores from Milord Sedlarevic and Cairns re-established the lead just when it seemed Moycullen were about to grasp it.
In the frantic last attempts to recover the cause, Moycullen played with abandon and conceded some easy scores that left them on the wrong end of a 13 point final whistle defeat.
Next up for Moycullen is a home game Sunday 14 November at 3pm against DBS Eanna.
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Moycullen Scorers: Grant Olsson 25, Joseph Tummon 12, Josh Marvesley 11, Eoghan Kelly 8, Paul Kelly 8, Kyle Cunningham 5, Marko Babic 4, Connor Curran , Niall Bree, Dylan Cunningham, James Lyons, Paul O’Brien
Categories: Men's Superleague