Sunday March 19th sees Maigh Cuilinn play one of our most important matches in recent history as our Superleague status is on the line in a relegation playoff against UCD Marian.
Show your support for the lads by cheering them on in person at the National Basketball Arena.
We are organising a supporters bus leaving from An Fuaran in the village at 12:30. The bus will be dropping off at the same spot in or around 20:30.
The cost for bus and admission to the match is just €15.
You can book a spot by either contacting your / your child’s team manager or by emailing MoycullenBC@gmail.com.
It is win or go down for Maigh Cuilinn’s Superleague basketballers this Sunday at 4:15pm as they head into their relegation playoff game against UCD Marian in Dublin’s National Basketball Arena.
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 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 and while Maigh Cuilinn are running supporters buses they are still almost certain to be outnumbered in the stands. Given Maigh Cuilinn’s sterling home record in recent weeks but struggles on the road, that will be one of the big challenges for John Cunningham’s charges.
What Maigh Cuilinn can look to with some confidence is the only previous meeting between these two teams to date this season, a dogged defensive struggle in Galway in late December that Maigh Cuilinn battled through to win by a 17 point margin.
While the game was much tighter than that scoreline might suggest, the intensity of the Maigh Cuilinn defence definitely had the better of their opponents on that occasion.
In truth however, that game is difficult to use as a barometer for this weekend’s encounter. Maigh Cuilinn’s star American player Grant Olsson, who is in outstanding form recently, sat out most of the contest with foul trouble while UCD Marian’s top scorer, Florida native Jonathan Jean, missed the game entirely as he had to return Stateside for a family emergency.
With that caveat duly noted, Maigh Cuilinn did show signs that their defensive structure can contain their opponents on Sunday, which point was most evident in a standout third quarter that day in December when they held UCD Marian to just 2 points. That period of dominance was the ultimate source of their relatively comfortable win in the end.
Their opponents Sunday will of course be a different beast, playing essentially at a home venue and with the presence of their main man Jean.
While he may stand only 5 foot 10 inches, Jean is an excellent professional now in his fourth season playing in Europe (this his first in Ireland) and he has lit the league alight, scoring over 29 points per game. Maigh Cuilinn’s most likely candidates to take on the role of containing him are probably Kyle Cunningham and Matteo Liberatore and how they fare will go a long way to determining Sunday’s result.
Another factor will be Maigh Cuilinn’s mindset. While UCD Marian would have known for some time this game was their destiny, Maigh Cuilinn’s recent run of winning three of their final four home games came ever so close to keeping them clear of this final relegation playoff and so how they deal now with that disappointment may be telling.
Two narrow losses on the road in the last two weeks where they fell by 6 away to Sligo and 12 to Killorglin in Kerry ultimately cost them guaranteed safety.