|Moycullen 79 (38)|
Killorglin 78 (30)
|Moycullen 51 (19)|
Neptune 88 (39)
Moycullen finished their Basketball Ireland Men’s Superleague season with one win from two in the final weekend, beating Killorglin in dramatic fashion in overtime on the Saturday before falling to Neptune of Cork on the Sunday.
Watch back the full games:
With both contests at home, the Galway side did not disappoint in terms of drama on the Saturday, scoring last second free-throws at the death of the fourth quarter to force overtime and then with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to win outright.
After such an exertion of the Saturday it was perhaps understandable that energy levels dipped on Sunday when Moycullen let a good start fade away while slumping to a convincing defeat at the hand of Cork City side Neptune.
“It was a fitting way perhaps to end the season,” said Moycullen point guard Eoghan Kelly.
“Like it has been all season, we were really good at times and overall played great defence but at times struggled massively to score enough. It was enough to get us one win but not enough to achieve what we really wanted which was to finish the season with two wins from two over the final weekend.”
Saturday’s contest against Killorglin was a tale of runs and swings in momentum. The home team were definitely the fastest out of the blocks and a steady stream of scores from both Grant Olsson and Josh Marvesley had Moycullen rolling early, enjoying a lead that stretched to 19 points at one stage in the first half.
A change of defence from Killorglin, when they moved to a 2-3 zone, proved to be a crucial turning point however and almost instantly stymied the Moycullen offence to the point where Killorglin were able to claw back into the game and finish the half trailing by just 8 on a score line of 38 to 30.
While Moycullen’s offence continued to spit and splutter through the second half against the stingy Killorglin 2-3 zone, the Galway side’s defence was enough to keep their noses in front, holding the men from the Kingdom to below 20 points in both the third and fourth quarter.
To the fore for Moycullen defensively were Eoghan Kelly, James Connaire and James Lyons as the game ebbed and flowed, the gap between the team’s remaining single digits throughout.
An increasingly influential Allan Thomas for Killorglin plus the sharp shooting veteran Declan Wall, looked to have snatched the game for the visitors when they took their first lead of the second half late in the fourth quarter.
However, big baskets from Olsson and Marvesley kept hope alive for Moycullen and on the final possession of regular time, with the clock winding down and Moycullen trailing by one, Olsson drove strong to the basket to draw a foul and earn free throws with time expiring. After missing the first, he calmly made the second and sent the game to extra time.
The additional period could have been anyone’s and indeed, after a back and forth exchange for the five minutes, it was Killorglin who looked to have the last chance with time expiring.
When their attempt was foiled by good Moycullen defence, Moycullen’s Eoghan Kelly emerged from the scrum with the ball and was fouled by Killorglin’s Thomas with 0.5 seconds remaining.
Kelly kept his nerve to sink the second of two free throws and earn his team a just about deserved victory in the final weekend of the season.
After the drama and exertion of Saturday, it was always going to be likely Moycullen would struggle to find the legs for Sunday’s encounter against Neptune of Cork.
Despite a brilliant start where they sprinted out to an eight point lead, the high powered Neptune offence, accustomed to regularly registering over 100 points, kept pace and overturned the early Moycullen advantage to snatch a four point end of quarter lead.
Moycullen then hit a brick wall in the second quarter and somewhat unbelievably, a solitary layup from Josh Marvesley was the only score they converted in the period.
The measly two point return created a 20 point margin on the score board and in truth, ended any chance of the game being a true contest.
Both sides played out what in fairness was an entertaining second half without ever threatening to be a result in doubt, the highlights being a thunderous two handed slam dunk in traffic by Neptune’s Cian Heaphy, a breakaway dunk for Kyle Cunningham and the introduction of Rory O’Sullivan for his home Superleague Moycullen debut.
The final whistle and a comfortable Neptune win marked the end of what has been a season of highs and lows for Moycullen and the beginning of the long wait for action to recommence in the Autumn of 2022.