This weekend in Basketball Ireland’s Men’s Premier League the highly anticipated clash between Killester and Bord Gais Neptune certainly lived up to its hype.
With both sides entering the game undefeated, it was the boys in black and orange that continued their winnings over last season’s National Cup champions Bord Gais Neptune on a 88 -76 scoreline.
Elsewhere, UCD Marian claimed their first win over Moycullen 50-82, while last season’s League champions, UL Eagles returned to winning ways after their win over Dublin Inter 73-58.
Back in Dublin, Premier League newcomers Templeogue and Belfast Star battled it out with the northerner’s claiming the victory, 62-75.
Meanwhile in Basketball Ireland’s Women’s Premier League, the biggest game of the weekend between old rivals UL Huskies and Team Montenotte Hotel Cork did not disappoint as the Limerick girls came away with a narrow defeat 71-76.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell kept their record intact after a nail-biting three point-win over Meteors 56-59 while Killester earned their first win in front of a home crowd over Liffey Celtics, 63-46.
Basketball Ireland Men’s Premier League
Killester 88 (43) v Bord Gais Neptune 76 (40) – IWA Clontarf
Red-hot Killester continued their winning ways this weekend after an impressive win over last season’s National cup Champions Bord Gais Neptune.
With both teams entering the game 2-0 neither side wanted to tarnish their record in order to stay on top. However, it was the home side that came away with the win after a tough battle.
Killester’s head coach Jonathan Grennell he said, “We are delighted with the win. We weathered an early storm from Neptune with Darren Townes in impressive form.
"However, Ciaran Roe's shooting kept us in touch in the first half and we managed to wrestle control of the game in the third quarter. Great work from both Michael and Isaac Westbrooks in the fourth quarter helped keep our noses in front.
“We were somewhat lucky Neptune had some injuries and couldn’t capitalise on our sloppy turnovers. We will need to improve that area rapidly before facing DCU."
UL Eagles 73 (42) v Dublin Inter 58 (31) – UL Sports Arena
In Limerick, last season’s League Champions UL Eagles were eager to come back from their loss to C&S UCC Demons last weekend and they did with a convincing win over Dublin Inter.
Head coach of UL Eagles Mark Keenan said: “Dublin Inter is a tricky team to play against so we are very happy to come away with a win.
“Our defensive efforts won us the game, we shut them down which then gave us the spring board on offensive. Everyone chipped in and our bench worked really well when they got into the game. It was a comfortable win but we don’t want to get carried away, we did let them hang in for longer than we should have.”
Templeogue 62 (26) v Belfast Star 75 (33) – Oblate Hall
In Dublin, Premier League newcomers Templeogue and Belfast Star battled it out to see which side was adjusting to life at the top ranks better.
Having previously played one another in pre-season, Belfast Star once again proved too strong for the Dublin lads.
Jose Maria Berrocal, Belfast Star’s newly-appointed head coach and Former Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev coach, said: “We played well for 30 minutes of the game but our aim for the next game is to play for the full 40 minutes.”
“I’m happy with the younger players like Conor Quinn and Liam Pettigrew as they are improving a lot. Although we are a young team and sometimes irregular all of our players have great desire to learn which is fantastic to see.”
Moycullen 50 (25) v UCD Marian 82 (48) – NUIG Kingfisher
In Galway, Moycullen hosted their first home game of the season against UCD Marian.
A young Moycullen side entered the game off two losses hoping that the support from their home crowd would get them over the edge for a win.
However, with UCD determined to claim their first win of the season after a tough loss to Killester the week previous, the Dublin side came out all guns blazing to take their much needed three points.
Ioannis Ciapakis, UCD Marian’s new head coach was happy with the win on the road: “We played great defence and we were focused for 40 minutes with all players performing well.
“It was an important win for us against a promising team who had a really enthusiastic crowd on their side. We're delighted about our win but from Monday it will be heads down and train hard as we need a lot of work to achieve the goals that we are setting for the team.”
C&S UCC Demons 88 (53) v DCU Saints 76 (39) – Mardyke Arena
On Sunday, C&S UCC Demons welcomed DCU Saints to the Mardyke Arena for the Cork side’s first home game.
DCU Saints came into the game after a tough loss to newcomers, Belfast Star however C&S UCC Demons had a lot of confidence as they overcame UL Eagles the week before by two points.
With the advantage of a passionate home crowd, C&S UCC Demons recorded the win over the Dubliners in their first home game of the 2013/2014 season.
Colin O’Reilly, head coach of C&S UCC Demons said: “Coming up against DCU Saints is always tough, they are a physical team and have some brilliant basketball players.
"You can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal and we did a few times throughout the game. They dominated the game for certain periods."
“We were inconsistent but we pulled through, we played very well in patches and we are delighted to get a win in our first game at home in front of the Demons fans. The mood is positive here and we’re looking forward to next weekend.”
Basketball Ireland’s Women’s Premier League
Team Montenotte Hotel Cork 71 (27) v UL Huskies 76 (37) – Upper Glanmire Centre
Easily highlighted as the game to watch in the Women’s Premier League this weekend both Team Montenotte and UL Huskies offered fans a nail-biting game right until the final whistle.
With last season National Cup and League winners UL Huskies entering the game confident on the back of two wins, Team Montenotte were determined to give a stellar performance after an over-time win the week previous.
With the rivalry growing stronger each time they meet UL Huskies wanted to ensure that Team Montenotte didn’t ruin their winning streak this time as they secured their third win of the 2013/2014 season.
James Weldon, head coach of UL Huskies was proud of his team: “We got off to a big start in the first half but unfortunately our foul trouble caught up with us in the second half.
“Team Montenotte came back well but our confidence and belief in one another got us the win in the end.
"Two or three girls really stepped up for us tonight, Louise Galvin, Rachel Clancy and Rachael Vanderwal they kept great composure throughout the game which encouraged everyone else to have confidence.”
Meteors 56 (28) b Singleton SuperValu Brunell 59 (30) – Colaiste Iosagain
Meanwhile in Dublin, Singleton SuperValu Brunell overcame a resilient Meteors with a nail-biting three-point win. The ladies from Cork were put to the test when down one point in the final minute until Megan O’Leary hit a three pointer to keep their winning slate clean.
Speaking after the game, Kieran O’Leary head coach of Singleton SuperValu Brunell was relieved: “Meteors fought very hard, they were diving on every loose ball and made it difficult for us, it was a fantastic game.”
“We are three on the bounce which is brilliant. The last two seasons our aim was to win three or four games so to have three wins and yet to conceal a game is helping our confidence in growing.
“We will be looking forward to the break next weekend, to let the girls recover for the last three tough games and then we will be ready to go the following week.”
Killester 63 (31) v Liffey Celtics 46 (17) – IWA Clontarf
Both Killester and Liffey Celtics entered this game needing to record their first win of the season so far.
For Liffey Celtics, they had lost in overtime to Team Montenotte Hotel Cork the week previous whereas Killester had concealed two games to Singleton SuperValu Brunell and WIT Wildcats respectively.
On the night, it was the Killester women who came away with the three points they needed to get their season up and running.
Mark Grennell, head coach of Killester said, “It was a good win, another improved performance. I’m happy that we were in control for long stretches of the game and I really think we deserved it.
“Candace Bong had a huge game on both ends of the floor, she lead by example and everyone followed her lead which is what we needed to happen."
Ulster Rockets 60 (28) v WIT Wildcats 70 (33) – Methodist College
On Sunday, Ulster Rockets faced off WIT Wildcats in the Women’s Premier League.
WIT Wildcats entered the game with one win under their belts after their victory over Killester last weekend.
Meanwhile Ulster Rockets had suffered a loss at the hands of Singleton SuperValu Brunell the weekend previous.
It seems the momentum stayed with WIT Wildcats as they came out on top after a tough battle.
Speaking after the game, Tommy O’Mahoney, head coach of WIT Wildcats said: “It was a really close game, it was basket-to-basket throughout.
"Whenever we thought we were pulling away Ulster Rockets kept coming back and kept it close. Credit to Ulster Rockets as they did play really well and pushed us for the full 40 minutes.
“It was great to get the win on the road it enables us to be more positive and confident especially with two games next weekend.”