UCC Demons 85 (52)
Maigh Cuilinn 60 (35)
An injury ravaged Maigh Cuilinn threatened but failed to slay UCC Demons in the Mardyke Arena in the Basketball Ireland Men’s Superleague.
On the road without star players Grant OIsson and James Loughnane Maigh Cuilinn were surprisingly competitive for large stretches before fading to an 85 to 60 final scoreline that flattered the hosts.
“Despite the outcome, we got a lot out of the game,” said Maigh Cuilinn head coach John Cunningham, who got large contributions from a cohort of players under 21.
“With the injuries we have, to match a strong Superleague team like Demons for thirty plus of the forty minutes was a reflection of the quality in our squad. Unfortunately, our collapse at the end of the second quarter decided the game.”
A free flowing first quarter failed to separate the teams and two free throws from U18 star Liam Maloney in the final seconds left the score 22 to 18 in favour of the Cork men.
It was the visitors who started the second period the best as baskets from James Connaire and Joseph Tummon had Maigh Cuilinn in the lead 29 v 30 with five minutes showing until half time.
However, with an upset very much on the cards if the young Maigh Cuilinn side could hold their form, Demons hit a sublime purple patch and a devastating 22 to 6 run saw the game blown wide open and Demons able to enjoy a comfortable half time lead of 52 to 35.
Not to be deterred, Maigh Cuilinn, confident in the knowledge that they had played the better basketball for large parts of the first half, came out determined to start the third quarter. Good showings from Dara Kenna, Ayberk Taylan and Brian Gaffney quickly had the Demons lead back to only 6 points (52 to 46).
Maigh Cuilinn were unable to press home the advantage however and while they had chances, could never regain the lead. While they won the quarter overall, Demons were able to steady the ship and the third period ended with Demons still 15 points to the good.
Having expended such energy, Maigh Cuilinn understandably lagged in the final period and with the result growing beyond doubt, Demons hit some wonderful scores and padded the final scoreline to win 85 to 60.
“Looking ahead to next weekend (Sunday – University of Galway Sports Arena at 1.30pm v Killorglin), a lot will depend on the injury picture and how it evolves, “said coach Cunningham.
“Regardless of that, we’ll be focusing on turning 30 solid mins into 40.”
Moycullen Scores: Ayberk Taylan 18, James Connaire 14, Liam Maloney 8, Brian Gaffnmey 5, Joseph Tummon 4, Donagh McDonagh 3, Dylan Cunningham 3, Kyle Cunningham 3, Dara Kenna 2, Rory O’Sullivan