The weekend started off bright and early. While Moycullen slept in on a dark November Saturday morning 3 cars set off at 7am from an Furan, destination Belfast for the U18 women’s national cup weekend. A fourth car joined the convoy in Dublin and the girls arrived at Methodist College on the Malone road and got stretched and ready for their first game.
Mix of Experience and Youth
Some of the girls had experience from last year’s event in Cork, with veteran players like captain Caitlin Davoren, Rebecca Sullivan, Mia Higgins, Eabha Mugan and Aoibhin Fox the core group around our sophmores Sophia Carpenter, Bella Gordon Quinn, Jenny McDonagh, Mai Roche and Molly Byrne. Add to that three exciting new rookies in Aoibhin Connolly, Eabheann Conneely and Lily Hynes, and the squad had a good mix of experience and new talent along with a veteran coach in Sean Hynes.
First Game v Cavan Eagles
In the first game Moycullen faced off against Cavan Eagles and with only two to qualify from the group a good start was needed. Unfortunately Cavan got the jump on Moycullen behind their Irish U18 guard Emma Toland who lead in socring and rebounds for her team.
Cavan jumped out to an early lead and Moycullen rolled up their sleeves and started to get to work. Behind some solid drives from Rebecca at the guard spot, baseline shooting from Caitlin and rebounding from Jenny and Eabha,
Moycullen started to slowly inch their way back into the game. However, some deep threes from Cavan ended a promising Moycullen run after Sophia and Mia had made some great stops on defence.
Cavan would run out comfortable winners in the end but Moycullen had shaken off the cobwebs of the long journey that morning and all signs pointed to a more promising second game.
Second Game v Glanmire
Unfortunately the second game began the same way the previous had ended with Glanmire of Cork jumping out to a 12 point lead in the first quarter. But the Moycullen girls would not give up on this one and a change of defence to allow Aoibhin, Eabha and Eabheann to more effectively rebound against Glanmire’s 6 foot 1 centre started to pay dividends in the second quarter as Moycullen started to slowly reel in their opponents.
A hardworking press which rotated rookies Aoibhin and Lily at the guard spot with Rebecca and Sophia along with Caitlin stealing the ball, had turnover after turnover. By the end of the third quarter only a single basket separated the teams. Although Moycullen would level it and have Lily top score with 14 points and despite Jenny hitting two late threes including one logo shot, it wasn’t to be and Moycullen lost a heartbreaker by 5 in the end.
Third Game (AKA the game that never was)
Moycullen’s third game was due to be against Maree on the second day but unfortunately the squad was hit a virus that evening and disappointingly could not play the following day. The hard work of the manager Catherina Davoren, Annette Carpenter and Niamh Connolly in looking after the girls so well and doing some serious mileage over the weekend was much appreciated by all.