/ Basketball

Eagles rise to challenge of Neptune

Updated: Sunday, 11 Dec 2011 20:03

Basketball - UL Eagles rose to the challenge of Neptune in the battle of the top two in the Southern Conference
Basketball - UL Eagles rose to the challenge of Neptune in the battle of the top two in the Southern Conference

In the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague, UL Eagles won out in the battle of the top two in the Southern Conference with victory away to Bord Gais Neptune on Sunday.

On Saturday, Northern Conference high flyers DCU Saints and 11890 Killester earned wins over UCD Marian and Belfast Star respectively, while UCC Demons collected maximum points away to Moycullen.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague on Sunday, UL produced a stunning display to beat DCU Mercy, while Singleton’s Super Valu Brunell edged out Ulster Rockets.

On Saturday, Team Montenotte Hotel, Waterford Wildcats and Meteors all prevailed.

UL Eagles returned to the top of the Southern Conference after a superb 76-71 win away to Bord Gais Neptune.

The Eagles have enjoyed an instant response from their recent American acquisition Robert Taylor, who chipped in with 21 points.

"It was great to get the win," said Eagles head coach Mark Keenan.

"We pulled it out of the bag in the last few minutes. We should have been more ahead at half time and we came out a bit lapse after the break.

"Winning becomes a habit but we have a lot more to do. We can't play like we did in the third quarter and get away with it too often.

"The pleasing aspect is we held Neptune to 71 points today, which is not an easy thing to do after the way they have been putting up big scores recently."

DCU Saints’ 96-84 win inflicted more misery on UCD Marian and ensured the perfect response after their cup hopes ended away to UCC Demons in their last encounter.

In a high scoring contest, a couple of three pointers from James Donnelly were the highlights in the first half as the Saints built up a seven point lead at the break. It was a lead they would never relinquish.

"We wanted to bounce back after the disappointment of going out of the cup," said Saints head coach David Donnelly.

"For a couple of the older guys, it might be their last chance at winning the cup but we spoke about it and didn’t want it to take away from the great season we are having in the league.

"We are in a great position and its now about trying to keep the momentum going and trying to pace ourselves and keep working towards achieving home advantage in the Play-Off’s.

"We have lost three times this season but the most pleasing aspect is the way we are bouncing back after these set-backs."

11890 Killester ensured they remained in close pursuit of the Saints at the top of the Northern Conference after a nervy 88-81 win at home to a much improved Belfast Star.

The arrival of American Joshua Johnson at the club has sparked new life into Star and they lead this contest by a solitary point at the break (37-36).

However, a late burst by the Dubliners, which included two three pointers and an 11 point tally in the final quarter from Mariano Gomes, was enough to seal the win.

"A win is a win no matter what and we needed that going into the game away to UL Eagles," said Killester head coach Darren O’Neill.

"Mark Keenan (UL head coach) was there so he will probably be setting his plans for next week.

"We were pretty awful in the first quarter but having steadied things in the second we went into a good lead in the third but Star refused to lie down and we were lucky that Mariano came up trumps in the fourth."

UCC Demons became the first Southern Conference team to win at Moycullen this season after a 67-59 success on Saturday night.

"I think it is a great win on the road," said Demons head coach Paul Kelleher.

"I find it strange when people think that winning away to Moycullen is a given despite the fact they have already beaten Neptune and UL Eagles at home this season.

"You have to be ready to come here and play because they are an extremely good side.

"We are the first team in our conference to win so that outlines how difficult the task was and I think it is a win that showed plenty of spirit and character."

UL head coach James Weldon paid tribute to Michelle Fahy after she returned to help her side to an emphatic 63-43 win away to fellow title chasers DCU Mercy in the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague.

"It was a great team performance," said Weldon. " have to give Michelle (Fahy) great credit. She trained for the first time in five weeks this week and she was excellent. She brings a great calming influence to the team.

"We have gone to DCU and Montenotte this season and won, which is a great credit to everyone on the team."

Elsewhere on Sunday, the battle of the newcomers saw Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell beat Ulster Rockets 73-71 in another thrilling contest.

Team Montenotte Hotel emerged victorious from a titanic tussle with 11890 Killester on a scoreline of 72-61 in front of a large crowd at the IWA in Clontarf on Saturday evening.

Waterford Wildcats earned their fourth win of the season with a comprehensive 76-46 success over Oblate Dynamos.

It was the perfect response by the Wildcats following their National Cup exit to DCU Mercy a week ago.

Meanwhile, Meteors had six points to spare as they overcame Liffey Celtics 71-65 on Saturday night to keep themselves within touching distance of the top four places.

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