Neptune 96 (44)
Moycullen 71 (45)
Moycullen let a hard earned half time lead slip away to defeat in Cork as a ragged third quarter cost them dearly in what, in the end, was a 96 to 71 point defeat in Cork to Neptune.
A third quarter pummeling 30 points to 8 left the visitors from Galway reeling after they had built a narrow 44 to 45 advantage at the break.
“It was very disappointing,” said Moycullen head coach John Cunningham.
“They spread us out well in the third quarter and a couple of their key players just went off. That can happen at this level and if you don’t play focused for all 40 minutes, you have no chance.”
One positive for Moycullen was the return to form of star American and team captain Grant Olsson who has been battling with a back injury for the past month but appears finally to have fully recovered and announced it with a superb 26 point display.
Olsson connected on the first seven Moycullen points, a long range three pointer amongst them with big Joe Tummon and Turkish centre Ayberk Taylan also finding baskets in the first quarter.
For Neptune, veteran guard GaryWalsh shook free from cover twice in a row to hit three pointers, helping his side stay in touch but it was the visitors from Galway that were ahead 23 to 24 after one.
Baskets from brothers Dylan and Kyle Cunningham got Moycullen off to a good start early in the second quarter before a James Lyons three was added. The second quarter was certainly a good one for Kyle Cunningham who continued his fine start to net ten points in the period.
It was not enough to pull away from the home side however and while Moycullen will have been happy with their 45 point output offensively, their usually stringent defence was giving Neptune few problems as they hit 44 of their own to leave only one between the teams.
Moycullen’s failure to get to grips with Neptune’s high powered offence was to come back to haunt them in the third quarter when Neptune’s Roy Downey and Nil Sabata exploded into form with a fast and varied attack that grabbed the momentum for Neptune.
It resulted in an onslaught from the home outfit with Moycullen failing to find an answer in what turned out to be a disaster of a quarter for them, their shooting touch deserting them right when they needed to answer the change in pace from Neptune.
Baskets from Kyle Cunningham, Olsson and Josh were sourced for Moycullen but it was not enough to stem the Neptune tide with the home side winning the quarter 31 to eight and suddenly finding themselves up 72 to 53 and in truth well on the way to the win.
Moycullen battled well in the fourth quarter in search of a comeback and Olsson and Taylan continued to score well. However, the gap was simply too bit and with Neptune guards Downey and Adam Heaphy running the show well for their team, a collapse never seemed likely.
At the final buzzer, it was a deserved 96 to 71 win for Neptune and Moycullen will have spent the long road trip home trying to figure out what happened in that third quarter that cost them a chance at a win.
They will have another long road trip to think on the matter further next weekend as they venture back to the rebel county once more and a meeting with league leaders Ballincollig Saturday for a 4pm tip off. Their next home game follows the weekend after with a Saturday evening 7pm tip off against Neptune when they can seek their revenge.
Moycullen Scorers: Grant Olsson (26), Kyle Cunningham (12), Ayberk Taylan (10), Josh Marvesley (7),Marko Babic (6), Eoghan Kelly (3), James Lyons (3), Joe Tummon (2), Dylan Cunningham (2), Kevin Nugent, Joe Morris, Niall Bree.