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Basketball Ireland weekend preview

Updated: Thursday, 09 Feb 2012 14:05

Basketball Ireland weekend preview

UCC Demons will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they host Northern Conference leaders DCU Saints in the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague clash at the Mardyke Arena on Sunday.

11890 Killester will travel to play Belfast Star and Men’s SuperLeague National Cup champions UL Eagles will host Moycullen.

Bord Gais Neptune will be hoping to keep their up their challenge for the Southern Conference title when they entertain UCD Marian.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague leaders UL should have too much firepower for Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell.

Team Montenotte Cork will not be taking anything for granted at home to an inform 11890 Killester and Liffey Celtics will be hoping to end their drought when they host Ulster Rockets.

Waterford Wildcats face a tricky Oblate Dynamos challenge at Inchicore, while DCU Mercy will be hoping that fresh legs will be enough to see off Team Montenotte who will be playing their second game in less than 24 hours at the DCU complex on Sunday.

All eyes will be on UCC Demons at the Mardyke Arena on Sunday when DCU Saints clash with the Cork side.

High flying Saints, leaders of the Northern Conference, will be the acid test for Demons but Paul Kelleher believes it’s the perfect test for his team.

"We have great characters in our dressing room and I'm excited by the way we have the potential to bounce back,” said Demons Head Coach Kelleher.

“We have guys on our team who have won and lost National Cup finals before so they have been in this position before and we will draw on that experience to help us recover.

“DCU Saints have been the best team in the league this year with the best record and have been very impressive about how they have went about their business. We will have to match their intensity and physicality if we are to have a chance of competing and we will then have to recognize their strengths and work hard to nullify them."

The Saints are certainly marching on but coach David Donnelly was not overly happy in what he witnessed in their win over Belfast Star last weekend.

“I felt we were sloppy for long periods and in the end although we won by 19 points I did not think it was as clear cut as the final scoreline suggests,” David said.

“We have played Demons on three occasions this season and they are edging us 2/1 so this will be an opportunity to level proceedings.

“When you are playing a team that have just lost a cup final they can be difficult to handle and no doubt Demons will be out to prove a point to their fans,” added David.

11890 Killester, fresh from their win over UCD Marian last week, travel to Belfast Star in what should be an entertaining contest.

The Northerners have been tricky opponents for Killester over the years, but on present form it’s difficult to see them ending their nine game run of defeats.

“Star has a good side that got a bad start to the season and we will be giving them the respect they deserve,” said Killester’s coach Darren O’Neill.

Newly crowned National Cup champions UL Eagles host Moycullen who have played their last two games without American Luke Enos due to injury.

Last week’s cup win will long live in the mind of coach Mark Keenan but now he has some unfinished business to do in the league.

“Our two games with Moycullen already this season have been really tight affairs and I expect no different this coming Saturday night,” said Eagles Head coach Keenan.

“Moycullen are pushing us for that final league playoff spot in the Southern Conference and I’m sure will be very fired up for this game. We cannot afford to take this game for granted as they have been improving with every game this season.”

Bord Gais Neptune head coach Mark Scannell is hoping for a vast improvement as they prepare to face UCD Marian on Sunday.

“I wasn’t particularly happy with our last performance against Moycullen,” said Neptune head coach Mark Scannell. “If we want to win the conference, we certainly need to be winning our home games.

“We didn’t have an easy time against UCD in our games to date so we certainly won’t be taking them for granted.”

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, the game of the weekend will see Team Montenotte and DCU Mercy clash at the DCU complex on Sunday.

Montenotte will also be in action on Saturday when they host Killester at the Neptune Stadium with coach Cormac O’Donoghue confident his side can rise to the challenge.

“It’s a tough weekend for us and I am sure my players are aware the importance of getting two wins,” Cormac said.

DCU Mercy boss Mark Ingle was disappointed after the National Cup final defeat to UL but they bounced back on Sunday last to defeat Singletons Supervalu Brunell in Cork.

“It was the equivalent to falling off a bike and getting back on and we will have to be ready to play Team Montenotte as a defeat would give them the upper hand in the race for the runner up spot in the regular season,” Ingle said.

National Cup champions UL host Singletons SuperValu Brunell at the UL Arena and will be looking for their 29th consecutive win.
“The national cup chapter is now closed and now we must concentrate on securing the league,” said Coach James Weldon.

Liffey Celtics, who are still searching for their first win in this campaign, entertain Ulster Rockets at Leixlip and the basement side will complete their double header weekend on Sunday when they travel to play Meteors.

Oblate Dynamos will hope to get back to winning ways for their home clash with Waterford Wildcats.

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