Moycullen 46 (19)
Belfast Star 79 (45)
In surely their worst performance of the season, Moycullen endured a day where everything that could have gone wrong did as they slumped to a resounding 33 point loss against Belfast Star in Galway, 46 to 79.
A sluggish first quarter left Moycullen with a small mountain to climb as Belfast Star’s forceful big men Max Cooper and Austin Beech consistently bullied their way to the basket to create high percentage shots.
Their physical play helped the visitors establish and early 19 to 7 lead as Moycullen struggled to get out of the blocks and appeared to be suffering a hangover from the dramatic nature of their win the previous week.
While the introduction of Dylan Cunningham mid-way through the period assisted to slow down the Belfast duo, Moycullen were unable to chip into the Star lead in any meaningful way and a three pointer on the buzzer by Darragh Ferguson had the men from the north up 13 to 26 going into the second.
A missed easy chance for Moycullen’s Ayberk Taylan to begin the second quarter did little to boost the home side’s confidence and Belfast Star were able to connect on the first five points at the restart and stretch their lead to 18 points.
A Joe Tummon basket ended the Moycullen rut but it was quickly followed by a Star offensive outburst which manifested itself in a sudden flurry of scores for Belfast and a technical foul on Moycullen main man Grant Olsson. The damage when the dust settled was a commanding and in truth deserved Belfast Star lead of 19 to 45 entering the half time break.
On one end of the court, Star were producing a nice balanced offence with inside and outside scoring. Moycullen on the other hand were being forced by Star pressure to catch the ball far from the basket too often and their poor play meant they could only get a measly six points from the quarter, leaving them an inevitable task of facing a 26 point deficit.
A three pointer by Tummon to start the third quarter gave hope to the Moycullen crowd that an epic come back could be on the cards. However, uncommonly for this Moycullen team, slack defensive intensity meant Star were running rampant on the offensive end and were able to follow up the Tummon three with 13 unanswered points.
As such, when it was Moycullen that needed the fast start, it was in fact the visitors that got it and in truth it spelled the likely end of any potential for a comeback.
Refusing to give up the contest however, it was Moycullen’s point guard Eoghan Kelly who most notably stepped up and looked to drag his team back in. Kelly, aided by an energetic James Lyons, upped the pace of play to try and find some scores on the fast break.
The change in pace did help Moycullen get more on the scoreboard, reaching 34 points by the end of the third quarter. The damage had been done by Belfast Star though and their 66 points had them up by almost double scores and all but guaranteed a valuable road win.
The game in truth played out as was to be expected for the final quarter. While there was some interspersed spirited MOycullen play, they never realty looked like threatening a comeback of epic proportions, which is what the scoreline would have required.
In the end, the men from Belfast left Galway with a very well deserved 33 point win, 46 to 79 and Moycullen will simply have to chalk the day’s work down to one of those outings and move on to a tough road assignment next Saturday in Kerry against Tralee Warriors.
Moycullen Scorers: Joe Tummon (9), Grant Olsson (8), Ayberk Taylan (8), Joe Morris (6), Eoghan Kelly (5), , Kyle Cunningham (4), Marko Babic (3), Kevin Nugent (3), Josh Marvesley, Dylan Cunningham, Niall Bree, James Lyons