UCD Marian and Templeogue will both enter this weekend’s Basketball Ireland Men’s Premier League match-up with a somewhat unfamiliar bounce in their step.
While UCD won their first game since October when getting the better of Belfast Star on the road, Templeogue recorded their first win ever at this level, against no less than defending champions UL Eagles.
It remains to be seen which sides’ good fortune will run into the Christmas break as they meet this Saturday in the UCD Sports Arena.
“We are just happy to finally get a win again after having seen improvement over the last couple of weeks,” said UCD guard Conor Meany.
“Obviously, Templeogue’s win last weekend against Eagles caught everyone’s attention. They have excellent scorers in Luke Thompson, Phil Taylor and Isaac Gordon so it will be a tough task trying to slow those guys down.”
One negative from last weekend for Marian was the loss of versatile scoring threat Eoin Chubb, who suffered a nasty ankle injury that looks set to keep him out until well into the New Year.
The only other game this weekend in the Men’s Premier League pits Belfast Star against Dublin Inter.
Tied for sixth place on 11 points apiece, the result from this game could eventually be the deciding factor in the race for a Champions Trophy tournament spot come March.
A loss for Inter would mean their first three game losing streak of the season while Belfast have not won a game since October and their near perfect start to the league campaign.
At home, Inter get the slight nod as favourites, but only just.
In the Women’s Premier League, something has to give when the winning streaks of Team Montenotte Hotel and Killester go up against each other.
While Montenotte have the longer streak, standing at five straight games as opposed to Killester’s three, Killester took the bigger scalp with their victory over the previously undefeated UL Huskies.
“Killester have proven we can’t take them lightly after their win against UL,” said Montenotte stalwart Niamh Dwyer.
“The game will be a good challenge going into the Christmas break and we will have to be fully focused.”
Meanwhile in Leixlip, Liffey Celtics look to get that elusive first win of the year when they host DCU Mercy.
Celtics once again came agonisingly close to the shock of the season last weekend but fell just short, losing to UL Huskies by five. They previously went to overtime with Montenotte.