UCD Marian pulled off the shock win of the weekend in Basketball Ireland’s Men’s Premier League by toppling defending champions UL Eagles in Limerick 64-78.
Their 14 point victory marks a 36 point swing from when the sides last met. On that occasion, Eagles soundly defeated Marian in Dublin, 75 – 93.
While Marian only managed to score three points extra at the weekend, their staunch defence held Eagles to just 64 on the night, well below their season average of 78.
“We took a chance on giving them some open outside shots, that they would miss and we could get the rebound and have a really quick outlet pass,” revealed Marian head coach Ionnais Liapkis after the game.
Work it did as Marian, and in particular Eoin Chubb, blitzed the Eagles’ transition defence to the tune of 53 first half points that put them in command for the remainder of the contest.
Chubb was aided in the second half by the hot hand of Conor Meany, whose 23 points led all scorers and sealed the win for Marian.
“Definitely we believed in this team,” said Liapkis. “We always work so hard at training it is about time we did it in a game because it is always there at practice.”
Templeogue very nearly snatched the limelight in terms of big upsets from the weekend, forcing overtime with third placed Bord Gais Neptune in Inchicore’s Oblate Hall.
It was not to be however and the league’s second from bottom team eventually wilted in the face of an awesome Michael McGinn 46 point performance to lose in extra time, 99-109.
It was a much smoother weekend for the first and second placed sides C&S UCC Demons and Killester who respectively saw off Dublin Inter and DCU Saints in convincing fashion at home while Belfast Star proved too strong for SSE Renewables Moycullen in Galway.
Killester’s win halted what had been a seven game win streak for Saints and gets Killester over one of the big hurdles as they look to keep pressure on undefeated Demons in the chase for the Premier League title.
“It is definitely a game we are glad to get under our belts,” said Killester head coach Jonathan Grennell.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Premier League, Killester and DCU Mercy played out a tense defensive battle in DCU Arena with Killester upsetting the favourites to win 56 – 61. The win means that Killester have now defeated each of the ‘big three’ in Irish women’s basketball, DCU Mercy, UL Huskies and Team Montenotte Hotel, in the 2013-14 league campaign.
There was also a tight battle in Cork where WIT Wildcats secured a nine point road win over Singleton SuperValu Brunell while cup finalists from one week past, UL Huskies and Team Montenotte both secured wins over Ulster Rockets.
The weekend also saw Liffey Celtics get their first win in two seasons by defeating Meteors 44 – 41 in front of a large and vocal home support.
“The home advantage made a huge difference,” admitted Celtics head coach Vinny O’Keefe afterwards.
“The crowd were absolutely fantastic and they knew what a win would mean so the tension was great. It isn’t something I ever want to go through again but it was great tension and atmosphere and we were lucky to come out the right end.”