/ Basketball

Basketball Ireland preview

Updated: Wednesday, 28 Dec 2011 14:26

Neptune coach Mark Scannell
Neptune coach Mark Scannell

UCC Demons and Bord Gais Neptune will go head to head in a mouth watering Nivea for Men's SuperLeague Cork derby at the Neptune Stadium on Thursday night.

In another derby clash, 11890 Killester will be hoping to avenge their defeat at the hands of DCU Saints when they entertain their Glasnevin opponents at the IWA Clontarf.

On Bank Holiday Monday, UCC Demons will host Moycullen and UL Eagles will be hoping to put their pre-Christmas defeat to Killester behind them.

In the Nivea Women's SuperLeague the sole game will see Oblate Dynamos entertain Ulster Rockets.

No doubt over the years Demons and Neptune games have become one of biggest sporting rivalries in Irish sport.

On this occasion Demons have been forced to give up home court advantage due to the continued renovations at the Mardyke Arena.

For Demons coach Paul Kelleher playing at Neptune will have no bearing whatsoever on his teams performance.

"The reality is that at this stage we have not played at our home venue this season so it makes no difference where this game is played," Kelleher said.

"The Cork public just love this game especially over the Christmas period.

"I was not pleased with our performance against DCU Saints before the Christmas break and although missing Shane Coughlan and Kyle Hosford we will have to improve big time to win this game," added Kelleher.

"This is a crucial game for us because we have already lost to them and we do not need another defeat before our national cup semi final clash."

The mood in the Neptune camp is one of confidence as coach Mark Scannell looks forward to another intriguing clash with their near neighbours.

"I think all players and coaches of both clubs look forward to this occasion as there is always a special buzz surrounding the game," Scannell said.

"The players had a few days off at Christmas with their families and they are back fully recharged for a game that will test the credentials of both teams.

"With the cup semi final looming it will give both teams a chance to weigh the pros and cons up so it should be one hell of a game."

The Dublin rivalry between 11890 Killester and DCU Saints is also well documented and their clash at Clontarf should attract a huge attendance.

11890 Killester were impressive in the pre-Christmas win over UL Eagles and coach Darren O'Neill is looking forward to another close encounter.

"This is a game we will have to win in order to keep pace with the Saints in the Northern Conference," O'Neill said.

"After Saints we have a trip to Cork to play UCC Demons and it would be unthinkable to go into our cup semi final against UL Eagles the following week if we were to lose both games."

The Saints will be hoping to continue with their recent rich vein of form as coach David Donnelly hopes for a repeat showing of their win over Killester back in October.

"Although Killester have dominated Irish basketball in the last few years we have always had some good games with them and this one will be no exception," said Donnelly.

The Saints will welcome back Eoin Quill and coach Donnelly believes he will be a good addition to the side, saying: "Killester have some good players but I am hoping my team produce the brand of basketball we are capable of playing."

On Bank Holiday Monday, UCC Demons will entertain Moycullen in the Nivea for Men's SuperLeague at the Parochial Hall.

The Galway side ran Demons close in a recent league game at Oranmore and coach Gerard Lyons is hoping for another solid display to get 2012 off to a winning start.

"We have played some good basketball at times this season and no doubt we will have to produce a top class display against Demons on their home court.

"Our performance against UCD Marian before the Christmas break was dismal and a repeat display could see us getting a similar drubbing," said Lyons.

UL Eagles and Bord Gais Neptune have been involved in competitive games this season and the Limerick side will be hoping to return to winning ways when they clash with their Cork rivals.

The UL Arena is sure to be rocking and coach Mark Keenan was bitterly disappointed how his team performed against 11890 Killester.

"We failed to show up against Killester and Neptune will punish us if we are not ready for battle," Keenan said.

"The month of January is vital and we need to return to playing the type of basketball we are capable of."

Oblate Dynamos will be hoping to register their first win of the New Year in the Nivea Women's SuperLeague clash against Ulster Rockets.

The Northerners were defeated by Meteors in their last league game and coach Breda Dick will be urging her players to stay focused on the job in hand.

"It would be nice to get 2012 off on a winning note but Oblate Dynamos play the game with a lot of passion and they will make it very difficult for us," Breda said.