After a superb team performance from UCC Demons this weekend, the Cork side return to winning ways in the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague with convincing victories over Bord Gais Neptune and Dublin-Inter respectively.
UCC Demons oversaw a resilient Dublin-Inter after they pulled away 88-80. With both teams eager to record a win it was the Cork side that controlled the game from the tip but were kept hot on their heels to maintain the result.
Demons win over Bord Gais Neptune two nights previous allowed them to play with confidence and conviction as they looked to add more crucial performances to their current record with a 82-75 win over their rivals.
Friday night’s Cork derby most definitely invited passion and hunger from Demons after their last encounter with Neptune in the National Cup semi-finals. With the game on their court in the Mardyke Arena a packed out gym was sure to witness an entertaining game.
From the jump the tense atmosphere set the tone for the game as Demons lead the scoring with Kenton Walker & Niall O Reilly stepping up only for Neptune’s Darren Townes & Ger Noonan to respond with big scores.
However, the fourth quarter saw the intensity spill over and result in unsportsmanlike fouls and 6 technical fouls, even Demons captain, Shane Coughlan, had to leave the court after he picked up his second unsportsmanlike when he challenging a loose ball.
When the game settled down it was Neptune who took the lead with 2.35 remaining. Nonetheless, Ciaran O’Sullivan hit two huge three's to give Demons a three point cushion with a minute remaining. Demons continued to push and in the end ran out winners.
Another local derby was in full swing on Saturday night when Killester travelled to DCU Complex to take on DCU Saints.
Both sides have ensured testing seasons, but it was the army of black and orange who recorded the win this time as they saw off the Saints 76-71.
Tom O’Doherty, head coach of Killester said: “It was a very close game from the start but in the last quarter we came into our own and kept the lead coming down the stretch.”
“Even though we maintained the lead near the end we were weary of DCU as they are a team that can come back at any time. The game was there to be won and we took it. Big performances from Bonaparte and Westbrooks really saw us over the line.”
Across the Liffey, southsiders, UCD Marian added another momentous win to their season as they trumped Moycullen 77-55.
Not only was this the team’s third win on the bounce but, a packed out gym squeezed into the bleachers as UCD favourite, Niall Meany, played his last home game for his club.
Fran Ryan, UCD Marian head coach enthused: “That has to be the best atmosphere I have ever witnessed in Belfield. The entire club came out to support Niall and also to celebrate our last home game of the season. It was great to get the win.”
“The committee worked so hard to ensure a huge crowd, there was even players there from the 70’s and 80’s. It was the biggest crowd we have ever had at a home game.”
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, an outstanding individual performance from UL Huskies star guard Rachael Vanderwal helped her team to a crucial win in their top of the table clash with Team Montenotte Hotel Cork.
The Limerick ladies recorded an impressive 93-78 win over their rivals when they travelled to Cork for the fixture. Now as the regular season begins to wind down, Huskies have placed themselves in a healthy position to retain their league champions’ title.
Elsewhere, DCU Mercy narrowly oversaw a buoyant Singleton SuperValu Brunell on a score-line of 78-65.
With the game neck and neck the entire way, DCU only lead by two points at the half. The young Brunell girls continued to push DCU for the second half but the experience of the Mercy ladies proved too much for them as they lost 78-65.
Mark Ingle, DCU Mercy’s head coach said, “We missed far too many scoring opportunities, from lay-ups to free throws we failed to convert and in turn let Brunell stay with us.”
“We did a good job on defence and closed the game out in the last quarter to get the win by going smaller with three or four guards out on the floor.”
Ulster Rockets also added another win to their season as they continue to chase a play-off position come the post season. They overcame Liffey Celtics 61-34.
Speaking about the game, head coach, Breda Dick said, “It was a good game, we controlled it from the start. Our press was excellent causing them to turnover the ball which is where we picked up our points coming down the stretch.”