/ Basketball

Basketball Ireland weekend preview

Updated: Thursday, 15 Dec 2011 13:41

Basketball Ireland weekend preview

The big game of the weekend in the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague will see UL Eagles and 11890 Killester go head-to-head with Belfast Star hoping they can avenge their cup defeat when they host Bord Gais Neptune.

DCU Saints will be another side out for atonement when they face UCC Demons, the side who ended their cup interests a week ago.

UCD Marian will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they clash with Moycullen at Belfield.

In the Women’s SuperLeague, leaders UL face Oblate Dynamos and Waterford Wildcats begin their weekend double header with a trip to 11890 Killester.

On Sunday Wildcats host Team Montenotte with the Cork side clashing with Liffey Celtics on the eve of this game.

DCU Mercy suffered defeat at home by UL last week and will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they welcome league debutants Singletons Supervalu Brunell.

Ulster Rockets complete the Womens SuperLeague programme with a trip to Dublin for a clash with Meteors.

UL Eagles showed their true mettle last weekend when they toppled Bord Gais Neptune at the Neptune Stadium and will be in confident mood for the visit of 11890 Killester.

The Shannonsiders came from six points down with three minutes remaining to win 76-71 against Neptune and coach Mark Keenan was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We played outstanding basketball in the first half but then hit a brick wall in the third before recovering coming down the stretch,” Mark said.

“Killester are still very much a force to be reckoned with and we will have to be at our best to win this game.

“Both teams will be wary as this is a repeat of the National Cup semi final clash, but for now all we can do is concentrate on this game and hope we get the points.”

The 11890 Killester coach Darren O’Neill believes this game represents a huge challenge for his side.

“This is going to be one of our toughest games so far in this campaign,” said O’Neill.
“Mark (Keenan) has done a great job at UL after a slow start and they are now the team we all expected them to be. The addition of Rob Taylor is a huge plus and we will have to be at our best for the full forty minutes if we are to get a win.”

DCU Saints will be hoping to avoid a third consecutive defeat to UCC Demons when they clash with the Cork side at the DCU Sports Complex.

The Saints coach David Donnelly was disappointed that Demons knocked them out of the cup but is confident his players can rise to the challenge.

“Many of my players were hoping for a good cup run, but to be fair they have put it behind them and realise that league points are now a priority,” David said.

Paul Kelleher was a relieved coach after watching his side UCC Demons defeat Moycullen last week, but Niall Murphy and Kyle Hosford are set to return for the DCU game.

“To be fair Moycullen put it up to us like they have to many sides this season and it was our experience and craft that got us over the finishing line,” Kelleher said.

“Having to play DCU three times is not ideal for either side, but we have got to stay focused on the job in hand.”

Belfast Star will be hoping to avenge their cup defeat to Bord Gais Neptune when the sides clash on Saturday.

Since the northerners recruited American Joshua Johnson they have looked a far better side and came close to defeating Killester last week at Clontarf.

For the Star, stalwart coach Danny Fulton believes the rub of the green is what his team needs to get their season kick started.

“The Neptune Cup defeat shattered me as we let that one out of our grasp and last week we pushed Killester all the way so I think we are due some luck,” Danny said.

“Playing Neptune at any time is a challenge, but I have little doubt my guys will be ready for what should be an interesting game.”

UCD Marian will be desperate for a return to winning ways when they take on Moycullen at Belfield.

It’s been a tough season to date for UCD Marian as they recently relinquished their National Cup crown when losing to UL Eagles, but coach Fran Ryan is urging his players to complete 2011 in style.

“We will be taking nothing for granted despite defeating Moycullen comfortably when we last played them because they are a team that is moving in the right direction,” Fran said.

In the Women’s SuperLeague leaders UL gave a clear statement of intent last weekend when they beat DCU Mercy by 20 points on their home court.

It proved a welcome return for the former Irish International Michelle Fahy following her six-week lay-off as coach James Weldon praised her professionalism.

“Michelle is a wonderful talent and although she had done little or no training for six weeks her presence against DCU was immense and as a team we are delighted to have her back playing,” James said.

The Shannonsiders will this week host Oblate Dynamos, who are looking for their second win of the season.

Team Montenotte Hotel were made to battle hard to see off the brave 11890 Killester challenge last week and first up this weekend is Liffey Celtics in the first part of a weekend double-header.

On Sunday, Team Montenotte will need to be focused when they visit Waterford Wildcats as coach Cormac O’Donoghue hopes to finish the year with a flourish.

DCU Mercy were reeling following their heavy defeat to UL but will be hoping to get back to winning ways for the visit of Brunell, Meteors host Ulster Rockets.

Mark Grennell’s Killester ladies are at home to Waterford Wildcats and he will have a full squad for the first time this season.

Powered by NewsWhip