A weekend packed with derby games did not disappoint for close, exciting finishes, with narrow victories for several teams in Nivea Superleague action between Friday and Sunday.
In the Nivea For Men’s Superleague, UCC Demons survived a tense encounter with old enemies Bord Gais Neptune, UCD Marian overcame Dublin Inter while UL Eagles and DCU Saints were also able to record wins over neighbouring teams.
First on the card on Friday night was one of the highlights of the basketball calendar every year, as Bord Gais Neptune and UCC Demons squared off for the first time this season.
With little between the teams from start to finish, a packed house in Neptune stadium were kept on the edge of their seats throughout, despite what was a nervy, low-scoring display from both sets of players.
While Neptune will consider themselves extremely unfortunate to have let that first win of the season slip through their fingers again, Demons did just enough to deserve their two-point win that came courtesy of a Niall O’Reilly lay-up with under five seconds left.
Demons’ Carlton Cuff stole the limelight throughout with an impressive 23 points and his ability to get to the basket consistently was a major factor in the final result. The win keeps UCC Demons’ unbeaten record following a perfect three wins from three games to start the season.
Later on Friday night, Dublin Inter came close to making it two wins from two at their new home in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, before eventually falling to a buoyant UCD Marian team. ,
Leading at half time by 11 points, Inter scored just 16 second-half points in a 68-45 loss to Marian, who have now won back-to-back games and made their title aspirations for this season clear to the rest of the league.
On Saturday night, UL Eagles and Moycullen’s match-up in Limerick shifted attention west.
Last season saw some memorable encounters between the teams, with two games being decided by a single basket.
Keen to definitively reassert their dominance over the only other west of Ireland team in the league, Eagles jumped into an early lead that they never relinquished, running out deserving winners on a 78-62 scoreline.
The win improves Eagles to three wins out of three and places them firmly at the top of the Nivea For Men’s Superleague, alongside the team they defeated in last year’s cup final, UCC Demons.
The one remaining game in the league from this weekend saw DCU Saints once again put in an exceptionally strong second half performance to overcome Killester away from home.
In the Nivea Women’s Superleague, Meteors got their first win of the campaign with a four-point victory over north Dublin rivals Killester.
Meteors managed to persevere when baskets were a rarity for both teams, scraping out an important 39-35 win.
The win is a particularly sweet one for Meteors, who have been on the wrong side of a number of close losses to neighbours Killester in the past few seasons.
UL Basketball Club continued their incredible unbeaten streak that currently stretches back over 12 months with a dominating 61-34 victory over a young Singleton Supervalu Brunell team.
In the sole Sunday game, DCU Mercy recorded their second straight win in the Nivea Women’s Superleague with a huge 53-point margin of victory over a struggling Liffey Celtics side.