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Basketball titles up for grabs at the National Arena

Updated: Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 18:18 | Comments

Huskies coach James Weldon
Huskies coach James Weldon

The National Basketball Arena will full this Saturday as teams from all over the country come to compete in the final competitions of the 2012-2013 season.

Five different titles are up for grabs including the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague Plate Title, Basketball Ireland’s Men’s and Women’s Division One Title, the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague Title and the elite National Champions Trophy.

This year, the Senior Games Management Board (SGMB) has created a new competition, The National Champions Trophy.

The competition is the third title that Basketball Ireland Men’s SuperLeague clubs can chase, including the SuperLeague Men’s National Cup and the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague.

Speaking about the competition, Pat Duffy, Chairman of the SGMB said: “The National Champions Trophy will decide the supreme champions for this season with a sparkling new trophy awaiting the winner.”

Over the last couple of weeks, both UCC Demons and DCU Saints have fought hard to book their place in the new competition.

This year when both sides met, Saints claimed two narrow wins in the second half of the season, while Demons scrapped a one-point win over the Dubliners back in October.

Speaking about his side, Paul Kelleher, head coach of UCC Demons said: “We have prepared as normal this week ahead of the game this Saturday.

“Even getting to practice early on the bank holiday which allowed the lads to spend some quality time with their families – best of both world’s really.”

Commenting about the new National Title, Kelleher admitted: “I am a big advocate for this new title. It is a nice competition as the teams had to work very hard to qualify for it.”

“There is always an incentive to win a competition but this one in particular really honours the team that kept fighting until the end of the season.”

Head coach of DCU Saints David Donnelly is also enthusiastic about his side’s chances of claiming the title as they enter the game coming off the back of four wins on the bounce.

Meanwhile in the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, National Cup champions UL Huskies will take on old rivals DCU Mercy.

So far this season, the Huskies have proved that they are a side to be reckoned with as they only dropped one game, claimed the National Cup title and secured the number one spot on the league table. However, for DCU Mercy, they have yet to claim any silverware this season as they regroup with a younger squad.

Speaking about the game, coach of DCU Mercy Mark Ingle said: “Making it to the final is a reward for our hard work over the last few weeks. We have kept pushing and have pulled out some great performances.

“Come Saturday, we will need to make our shots in the Arena and spread out UL on the floor.”

“Obviously, UL Huskies are the favourites to win this game with their current track record but we are rearing to go and will fight to the end.”

Head coach of Huskies, James Weldon understands what his side must do if they want to win, saying: “The team that controls the tempo of the game will be the team to win this battle.

“We have prepared very well this week and are looking forward to the challenge Mercy will bring. Our girls have been here before, and they know how to win. We have great experience on our squad.”

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