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Basketball Ireland weekly report

Updated: Sunday, 11 Mar 2012 19:27

Basketball Ireland weekly report

UCD Marian stunned Bord Gais Neptune to set up a play-off semi-final date away to DCU Saints, while UL Eagles will take on UCC Demons in a repeat of the 2012 National Cup final after their win away to 11890 Killester.

In the Nivea Women's SuperLeague quarter-finals, Waterford Wildcats beat 11890 Killester in overtime to set up a semi-final clash with UL, while DCU Mercy will take on old foes Team Montenotte after their win over Meteors.

UCD Marian head coach, Fran Ryan, was ecstatic after his side created a big surprise by beating Bord Gais Neptune 83-80 to reach the Nivea For Men's SuperLeague play-off semi-finals.

The Students, who were ranked as outsiders to emerge from a difficult assignment at the Neptune Stadium, will now face Dublin rivals DCU Saints on St Patrick's weekend.

UCD weren't expected to cause Neptune too many problems after a run which included six straight defeats in the regular season. However, they produced their finest display of the season with their recent Irish-American acquisition Owen McNally contributing 23 points in the win.

"We absolutely believed we were going to win," said Marian head coach Fran Ryan. "We saw Ger Noonan as the real problem and we felt if we stopped him we had a great chance. We genuinely believed the results prior to Neptune weren't a true reflection of the way we were playing.

"Owen [McNally] has come in and played well," added Ryan. "He played just 23 minutes and got a fine points tally so that shows what he brings to the team. DCU will be a real test. I saw them recently beat Neptune and I thought it was the best performance from a team this season."

National Cup champions UL Eagles are still on course for the double after an emphatic 87-71 win away to reigning champions 11890 Killester.

The Limerick side ended Killester's National Cup interests at the semi-final stage and put a halt to their hopes of retaining the league title after a dominant display in Clontarf.

The win would have been particularly pleasing to Eagles head coach Mark Keenan, who left the capital giants last summer. American Robert Taylor produced another memorable display, chipping in with 28 points and the Eagles can now look forward to a repeat of their cup final with UCC Demons in the semi-finals next week.

"I am absolutely thrilled," said Eagles head coach Mark Keenan.

"It was always going to be tough on the road to Killester, particularly considering UL's record up there in recent years. We stood up to the challenge and the commitment and attitude was excellent.

"Demons away will be difficult," he added. "We played there two weeks after winning the cup and lost. I was heartened by our second half display against them on that occasion so hopefully we can take that with us into next weekend."

Waterford Wildcats have earned a daunting date with UL in the semi-finals of the Nivea Women's SuperLeague following a dramatic 67-65 overtime win away to 11890 Killester.

A mammoth clash went into overtime before Irish international Kate Maher supplied the basket that edged a priceless win for the young Wildcats side.

"UL's unbeaten run (now stretching back to December 2010) outlines what sort of a challenge it is," said Wildcats head coach Tommy O'Mahoney.

"We will be massive underdogs and have nothing to lose. We did well down in UL earlier in the season but a lack of experience probably proved our downfall on that occasion.

"The manner in the way they won the cup was extremely impressive but we won't be scared of them and will give it a real go."

DCU Mercy will face Cork rivals Team Montenotte Cork after they powered past Meteors on a scoreline of 78-39.

Sarah Woods continued her recent good form with 23 points, while Shauna O'Connor and Christina Newton also impressed.

"We played well, got the job done well and now everything switches to next weekend and a tough fixture away to Montenotte," said Mercy head coach Mark Ingle.

"Montenotte finished second in the regular season for a reason. I think it will be a close affair but hopefully we can get the win."

Ulster Rockets have reached the final of the inaugural Nivea Women's SuperLeague Shield following a comprehensive 70-50 win at home to Oblate Dynamos and will face Singleton's Super Valu Brunell, who beat Liffey Celtics 86-28.

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