Basketball Ireland weekly preview

Updated: January 5, 2012

The big game in the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague will see UCC Demons and 11890 Killester clash at the Mardyke Arena on Sunday.

UCD Marian will be hoping to begin 2012 in style when they have a double header against Belfast Star and DCU Saints.

Star are also involved in a double header when they play Bord Gais Neptune on Sunday.

Moycullen host UL Eagles as the Limerick side look to avenge their previous defeat at the western venue.

In the Nivea Womens SuperLeague the leaders UL will be wary when they travel to Waterford to play Wildcats.

Team Montenotte Hotel make the long trip north for their clash with Ulster Rockets and 11890 Killester are sure to be tested when they go head to head with Singletons Supervalu Brunell.

DCU Mercy will be looking for a good performance and maximum points against Liffey Celtics as they prepare for their National Cup semi final clash a week later.

The Mardyke Arena is sure to be rocking on Sunday as UCC Demons will play their first game of the season at their home venue.

Welcoming Killester will be a daunting prospect but coach Paul Kelleher believes it’s the ideal start to getting his side acquainted with the revamped venue.

“Killester are still one of the best teams in this country and we will have to be very focused against them as they blew us away in the early stages when we played them recently in Dublin,” Kelleher said. “We are in a rich vein of form at this present time and it is imperative we get a win before we take on Neptune in the national cup semi final.”

Killester Head Coach Darren O’Neill will be trying to get a win after last Thursdays overtime defeat against DCU Saints where they led by 16 points at one stage.

“Sunday is a crucial game ahead of the cup semi’s against UL. There is no doubt that we are up for it but Paul (Kelleher) has a really strong squad and they are causing teams a lot of problems at the moment. We will have to be at our very best as this game will be such a confidence booster for both teams with games against UL and Neptune just a week away” said O’Neill.

UCD Marian will begin their double header with a tricky home clash against Belfast Star, a team desperately in need of league points.

Inconsistency and a spate of injuries has ravaged UCD Marian in this campaign but coach Fran Ryan is confident they can make a good impression for the remainder of the campaign.

“We have not played to our capabilities and a home game against Belfast Star is sure to test our resolve but a win is not out of the question,” Fran said.

The Northerners have the worst record in the league with only one win under their belt but coach Danny Fulton is confident 2012 will be a better one for his team.

“Since we signed Joshua Johnson we have played some good basketball and had a place in the national cup semi final taken from our grasp by Neptune in the closing seconds,” Danny said.

“Losing games is just like winning as it becomes a habit and if we can break our present hoodoo we will be ok.”

The northerners will complete their double header on Sunday with the visit of Bord Gais Neptune and coach Mark Scannell is in buoyant mood following his teams Bank Holiday Monday win over UL Eagles.

“We needed a response after getting wiped out by UCC Demons over the Christmas period and we showed great character to defeat Eagles on their home court,” Scannell said.

Looking ahead to the DCU Saints game on Sunday the UCD Marian coach Ryan believes his team will have to be firing on all cylinders to get the all important win.

“Saints are very much the form team in this country and we will have to be clinical at both ends of the floor to get anything from this game but it’s not beyond us,” added Ryan.

Moycullen coach Gerard Lyons is looking forward to his teams clash with UL Eagles, having already defeated the Shannonsiders in a previous league game at the same venue.

“We cannot get carried away by that result as UL had no American and this will be a far tougher assignment,” Gerard said.

The Eagles coach Mark Keenan needs an instant response after Monday’s dismal performance against Bord Gais Neptune.

“We are not executing as we are capable of doing and we need a big performance against Moycullen,” Keenan said.

In the Nivea Womens SuperLeague, leaders UL travel to Waterford for a clash with the local Wildcats with coach James Weldon full in the knowledge that this is a potential banana skin.

“Every game we play is a challenge because when you are at the top teams tend to raise their performances and Wildcats are a difficult team to play on their home court,” James said.

Ulster Rockets coach Breda Dick is looking forward to the visit of Team Montenotte Hotel.

“Over the years Team Montenotte have produced some wonderful sides and no doubt they will be in the mix for honours again this season,” said Breda.

Cormac O’Donoghue although hoping for a win will also be keeping his fingers crossed for a clean bill of health.

“Of course getting maximum points is number one priority but having a fully fit squad after the game is important as we need our full panel in top shape against UL in the national cup semi final next week,” Cormac said.

Singletons Supervalu Brunell will host 11890 Killester, while DCU Mercy entertain basement side Liffey Celtics with coach Mark Ingle also having one eye on the national cup semi final against 11890 Killester in Cork.

“With no disrespect to Liffey Celtics we should do the business and our focus we will be totally focused on making it to our third consecutive cup final,” Mark said.

Basketball Ireland Upcoming Fixtures

Saturday January 7th 2012

Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague
Moycullen V UL Eagles, NUIG Kingfisher, 16:00; UCD Marian V Belfast Star, UCD Sports Centre, 19:10

Nivea Women’s SuperLeague
Waterford Wildcats V UL, Mercy Gym, 17:00; Ulster Rockets V Team Montenotte Hotel, DLS Andersonstown, 18:30

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One
Portlaoise V Team Loftus Recycling Ballina, St. Mary’s Sports Hall, 19:30; Team Meadowland’s St. Brendan’s V Maree, Mercy Mounthawk, 19:30; Team Garvey’s St. Mary’s V Team Left Bank Kilkenny, Castleisland Community Centre, 19:45

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One
Team Tom McCarthy’s St. Mary’s V Brittons Insurance Donegal Town, Castleisland Community Centre, 17:45; Scruffy’s St. Paul’s Killarney V UL, AURA Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre, 19:00

Sunday January 8th 2012

Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague
UCC Demons V 11890 Killester, Mardyke Arena, 15:15; UCD Marian V DCU Saints, UCD Sports Centre, 15:10; Belfast Star V Bord Gais Neptune, DLS Andersonstown, 15:30

Nivea Women’s SuperLeague
Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell V 11890 Killester, Parochial Hall, 14:45; Meteors V Oblate Dynamos, Coláiste Íosagáin, 15:00; DCU Mercy V Liffey Celtics, DCU Sports Complex, 15:30

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One
Neptune V Blue Demons, Neptune Stadium, 13:00

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One
Meteors V Tralee Imperials, Coláiste Íosagáin, 13:00; UL v Brittons Insurance Donegal Town, St Nessans Community Schools, 13:30.

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