/ Basketball

Killester get title defence off to good start

Updated: Sunday, 02 Oct 2011 18:44

Men's champions Killester and Women's champions UL both made a winning start to the new season
Men's champions Killester and Women's champions UL both made a winning start to the new season

Reigning Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague champions 11890 Killester got their defence off to a winning start at home to Belfast Star, while Bord Gais Neptune sent out an early marker with a comprehensive win at home to UL Eagles.

On Sunday, UCC Demons opened with an 83-60 win over Moycullen, while DCU Saints beat UCD Marian 68-61 in David Donnelly’s first game as head coach of the club.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, UL & DCU Mercy saw off Meteors and Waterford Wildcats respectively, while Saturday saw wins for Team Montenotte, 11890 Killester and newcomers Singleton Super Value Brunell.

Darren O’Neill enjoyed a winning start to his reign as 11890 Killester head coach as the Dubliners recorded a comprehensive 90-63 win at the expense of his former club Belfast Star.

Despite the 27-point success, O’Neill won’t be getting carried away as Star are still waiting on American Tyson Johnson to play his first game for the club.

“It’s good to get a winning start but we are under no illusions and it is very difficult to read much into the result,” said O’Neill.

“It was always going to be difficult for Star without their American. We were in a no win situation. It’s a game you just want to get out of the way, get the win and now move on to what will be an extremely difficult test away to UCC Demons next weekend.”

Killester may be without some of the stars that led them to the title last season but it was the experienced trio of Jermaine Turner, Kieran O’Brien and Michael Westbrooks that impressed in the scoring stakes.

Mark Scannell also got off to the perfect start as head coach of Bord Gais Neptune as his charges comfortably disposed of UL Eagles courtesy of a 78-62 win at the Neptune Stadium.

Again, Eagles’ cause wasn’t helped by the absence of American Johnnie Jefferson, who is awaiting clearance before playing his first game for the Limerick club.

Neptune’s American, Ron Thompson, made an excellent start to his career on Leeside with 28 points in the win, while Gary Walsh and Michael McGinn also impressed.

“We are not getting carried away but it was a good start,” said Scanell. “We kept our game plan simple and I thought our defence was very good. I keep telling people we are still in pre-season mode particularly with our American playing his first competitive game in six months and I am still getting to know my own players.

“We had a fabulous crowd and hopefully they liked what they saw and will be back for more.”

Shawn Atupem repaid the faith UCC Demons showed in him by contributing 30 points in their 83-60 win at home to Moycullen.

The Western side trailed by just eight points at the break but Demons dominated after the re-start to get their season off to a flier.

“We had a tremendous second half but we made a bunch of mistakes throughout the game,” said Demons' coach Paul Kelleher. “It’s going to take us a while to get back used to playing at this level after the summer break but it’s a starting point.

“I got the opportunity to feature some of the younger players and our new American put in a good opening day performance.”

DCU Saints edged out UCD Marian by seven points (68-61) in a hugely entertaining clash at the DCU Sports Centre.

It’s a huge boost for the newly appointed head coach David Donnelly, particularly with the win coming against their Dublin rivals and last season’s National Cup champions.

The game was tied at the break (32-32) but Saints edged it in the closing stages with Pat Glover providing a tally of 21 points.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, holders UL enjoyed a comfortable start to the season as Aoife McDermott struck 20 points in her side's 74-44 defeat of Meteors.

“It’s nice to get that opening win,” said UL head coach James Weldon. “We had some great performances with Aoife (McDermott) coming into the starting five and doing extremely well.

“We needed this as we have two tough trips to Dublin on the horizon and hopefully it will help us build some momentum now.”

DCU Mercy comfortably eased to a 68-33 win over Waterford Wildcats in their clash on Sunday at the DCU Sports Complex.

“It’s a good start to the season particularly against a Wildcats team who have welcomed the likes of Niamh Mullaly and Kate Maher into their ranks this season,” said Mercy head coach Mark Ingle.

“We enjoyed a positive spell in the second and third quarters and the win sets us up nicely for the game with Ulster Rockets next weekend.”

Niamh Dwyer marked her competitive return for Team Montenotte Hotel with 20 points as last season’s beaten finalists claimed a 59-40 win over Oblate Dynamos.

“It is a good start but we have a lot to work on,” said Montenotte head coach Cormac O’Donoghue. “Niamh (Dwyer) put in a big display and I’m sure we will see a lot more from her as the season progresses.”

Singleton Super Valu Brunnell coach Kieran O’Leary was understandably buoyant after his charges won the battle of the newcomers after an 80-74 win away to Liffey Celtics.

“It’s a fantastic boost to win our first game in the top division of Irish basketball,” said O’Leary. “Celtics got a bit of momentum in the third but I believe out fitness helped us greatly in the end.”

Newcomers Ulster Rockets were involved in a titanic tussle with Killester before the Dubliners recorded their first win of the season on a scoreline of 71-62.

"To get off to the right start is big for us," said Killester coach Mark Grennell. "We were very good at times but also very sloppy at times. We will build on this win and improve for next week."

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