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Basketball Ireland Weekend Review

Updated: Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 12:34 | Comments

UCC Demons travel to Dublin this weekend
UCC Demons travel to Dublin this weekend

Men’s Premier League leaders C&S UCC Demons will put their one-loss record on the line twice this weekend as they travel to face Dublin sides Templeogue and DCU Saints on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon respectively.

Both games present genuine ‘banana-skin’ potential lying as they do one week ahead of Demons’ titanic top of the table clash with Killester in Dublin.

Conscious of the potential to overlook the challenge of both Templeogue and Saints, Demons’ guard Ciaran O’Sullivan said focusing on one game at a time is a key team philosophy.

“After the Neptune loss that was one of the things we talked about,” said O’Sullivan.

“We were maybe looking ahead too far, the whole thing about being undefeated and all that, we just need to focus now on each game as it comes.”

In Templeogue and Saints, Demons face two teams with top quality players but also with a limited rotation and the Cork outfit will be fancied to come through the weekend unscathed.

Killester, who are tied with Demons atop the table, are also fancied to come through this weekend undefeated as they travel west to play an SSE Renewables Moycullen who are second from bottom.

Moycullen’s greatest threat will be Mike Callaghan, who leads the league in scoring and will be closely watched by the Killester defence.

“Moycullen has the league’s leading scorer and he can be a difficult matchup,” admitted Killester captain Mike Westbrooks.

“We believe that if we can slow him down, then we will have a good chance at winning the game.”

Elsewhere this weekend in the league, Bord Gais Neptune host UCD Marian in a meeting of perhaps two of the most unpredictable teams in the country.

Last weekend Neptune ended their four-game win streak with a thud by falling to UL Eagles 91-79 in a surprisingly one-sided affair. Marian, for their part, sandwiched a surprise loss at the hands of Dublin Inter in between three impressive victories.

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours before they face the might of C&S UCC Demons on Sunday, DCU Saints are in action against Dublin Inter at home in the DCU Sports Arena at 7pm Saturday night, while Belfast Star host a resurgent UL Eagles side on Sunday who are looking to hold onto fourth spot and one of the coveted places in the end of season Champions Trophy tournament.

In the Women’s Premier League, defending champions UL Huskies have an opportunity to claim a fourth successive regular season crown, needing just one win from their remaining two fixtures to do so.

James Weldon and his team will be looking to seal the deal this Sunday when they travel to Waterford to face WIT Wildcats who are coming off the back of a surprise loss to Liffey Celtics and may be without their top scorer Rachel Roberts who was injured in that game.

Retaining their regular season crown would be an important step for Huskies, who won all four of their recent Women’s Premier League titles off the back of one-seeds in the play-offs.

“It’s extremely important,” said Huskies guard Rachel Clancy when asked about the significance of winning the regular season title.

“It reflects who has been the best team throughout the entire season.”

Elsewhere in the Women’s Premier League, DCU Mercy look to bounce back from their loss to Huskies last weekend with a win when they play Singleton SuperValu Brunell on Sunday.

Sunday also sees Ulster Rockets take on Killester in Belfast, while on Saturday, bottom side Meteors host National Cup champions Team Montenotte Hotel.

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