Moycullen give their all but it’s not enough to carry day

SSE Airtricity Moycullen's Paul Freeman tussling with Justin Goldsborough of Griffith Swords Thunder during Saturday's National Basketball Cup semi-final at the Neptune Stadium, Cork. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho.
SSE Airtricity Moycullen's Paul Freeman tussling with Justin Goldsborough of Griffith Swords Thunder during Saturday's National Basketball Cup semi-final at the Neptune Stadium, Cork. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho.

Swords Thunder 85

Moycullen 77

SSE Airtricity Moycullen, playing in their first ever SuperLeague National Cup semi-final against Swords Thunder of Dublin, gave it everything they had but ended up on the wrong end of a 85-77 scoreline on Saturday evening in Neptune Stadium, Cork.

Led by an outstanding display from James Loughnane, who finished with a team high 17 points and Paul Freeman, who grabbed a remarkable 20 rebounds, SSE Airtricity Moycullen performed admirably in their first ever Cup semi-final appearance at this level.

A devastating display from Thunders point guard in the 1st quarter had SSE Airtricity Moycullen chasing the game from early on but they soon settled and went blow for blow with their opponents for the remainder of the half.

At half-time, the deficit of 12 points was more than manageable and after an enthralling and tense second half, Moycullen supporters were on their feet when the team found themselves to be just six points behind with 2:30 left on the clock.

Credit to Swords Thunder though, who forced turnovers on the next two Moycullen possessions while converting at the other end to push the lead back out to 10 points.

With time against them, Moycullen were forced to foul their opponents and put them on the free-throw line. Unfortunately, Swords duly converted from the charity stripe and while Moycullen converted two three point shots, they were never able to bridge the gap.

While SSE Airtricity Moycullen lost the game it was a great display from them; having gone into the game as massive underdogs against a star-studded Thunder team, they forced the game right down to the wire and they can be very proud of their performance on the day.

If Moycullen can build on this display for the remainder of the season, they can make further progress at the highest level of the sport in Ireland.

Moycullen: J Loughnane 17, P Lawrence-Ricks 17, P Lyons 15, J Tummon 11, P Freeman 10, D Cunningham 5, K Cunningham 2, S Candon, R Gilson, L Sila, J Hackett, C Curran

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.