Killorglin 79 (48)
Maigh Cuilinn 67 (28)
A flat second quarter in Kerry cost Maigh Cuilinn the chance at ending the regular season with a win as they fell in the Kingdom to a 79 to 67 defeat.
In what was unfortunately a dead rubber game unless Maigh Cuilinn could win it by in excess of 47 points, Maigh Cuilinn actually started the contest brightly and held the lead for large stretches of the first quarter which ended with Killorglin up 19 to 18.
Perhaps the fact that, by virtue of results the weekend prior, Maigh Cuilinn were almost certainly already destined for this coming Sunday’s relegation playoff against UCD Marian in the National Basketball Arena told in the following quarter last weekend.
Cheered on by a full house, the Kerry side exploded into life in the final five minutes of second quarter as their Galway visitors suffered a disaster spell of their own. Killorglin scored a rather unbelievable 25 unanswered points in the stretch turning what had been a 5 point advantage for the visitors into a 20 point lead for the home side at half time, Killorglin’s terrific trio of American Robert Kelly, Latvian Aksels Skaistlauks and Englishman Pharroh Gordon doing the majority of the damage.
By the time the dust settled and Maigh Cuilinn could escape to the dressing room it would have been fair for them to simply chalk this one down to a bad evening and turn attention to the big one coming up this weekend.
A gallant third quarter effort however put them right back in the game, winning the period 25 points to 15 and getting the margin to just 10 for the final quarter. Keys for Maigh Cuilinn in the run were season high contributions from Brian Gaffney who finished with 17 points and James Connaire who had 11. Joseph Tummon and Ayberk Taylan also battled well under the boards and combined for an impressive 28 points on the night.
It was not to be enough however and while they got things back to single digits on a number of occasions in the fourth quarter, they could never take the lead and truly rattle Killorglin’s cage and in the end the final score of 79 to 67 was probably a fair reflection on the game as a whole.
Next up is the all important trip to Dublin for that relegation playoff at 4pm Sunday in the National Basketball Arena against UCD Marian. It is win or go down and for the current crop of senior players from the Galway club, it is quite simply the biggest game of their careers with survival in the top flight (enjoyed by Maigh Culinn since 2009) on the line.
They will face a UCD Marian outfit who will have the benefit of a de facto home advantage on the ‘neutral’ court of the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. Maigh Cuilinn are however running supporters buses leaving from An Fuaran in Maigh Cuilinn village at 12:30 Sunday with €15 the cost for the bus and game entry combo. Full details on http://www.MoycullenBasketball.Net.
Maigh Cuilinn scorers: Ayberk Taylan 18, Brian Gaffney 17, James Connaire 11, Joseph Tummon 10, Kyle Cunningham 5, Kevin Nugent 3, Rory O’Sullivan 3, Donagh McDonagh, Dara Kenna