Basketball Ireland Weekly Preview

Updated: February 24, 2012

UCC Demons face a difficult and unusual programme in the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague when they play Belfast Star twice in less than 24 hours this weekend.

11890 Killester will be hoping to build on their epic win over Bord Gais Neptune last week when they visit NUIG to play Moycullen.

UL Eagles will be looking to continue their positive end to the season when they visit UCD Marian, while Bord Gais Neptune will be looking for their first win of the season against DCU Saints.

In the Women’s SuperLeague, UL can clinch the regular season with a win over Meteors.

There is an interesting Dublin derby, as 11890 Killester host DCU Mercy on Saturday and the latter will complete their double header when they entertain Ulster Rockets on Sunday.

Singletons Supervalu Brunell will not fear Waterford Wildcats on their home court and Liffey Celtics take on Oblate Dynamos.

UCC Demons trip north will be a memorable one, as they become the first team in the history of the league to play the same team twice in less than 24 hours.

Demons will be without the injured Carlton Cuff and Shane Duggan but coach Paul Kelleher is hoping his team can produce the type of basketball they are capable of.

“This could be our toughest weekend of the season for a whole number of reasons,” said Kelleher. “Star are coming into the sort of form that I had expected from them before the season started and coming off two big wins in recent weeks makes them even tougher.

“Star have quality right through their side and have great perimeter scoring and we also know of Josh Johnson’s credentials after he spent a season with us. This will be an exciting game, but if we are going to get the desired result in both games, we will have to play with patience, poise and use our experience to get over this challenge.”

For the Star coach Danny Fulton it is an opportunity to make it three wins in a row and end the season on a high despite failing to reach the Play-Off’s.

“We stopped the rot against Killester and followed up last week with a win against Moycullen but we know Demons will be a far tougher proposition,” said Fulton.

Bord Gais Neptune will be desperate to return to winning ways against DCU Saints after the disappointment of last week’s one point overtime loss to 11890 Killester.

The defeat to Killester leaves their hopes of claiming the Southern Conference hanging by a thread.

“If we produce a similar battling performance against DCU Saints I think we will pose them problems,” said Neptune Head Coach Mark Scannell.

“It was hard to take the Killester defeat in the manner we did but we cannot do anything about that now and we must stay focused on the job in hand.”

For the DCU Saints coach David Donnelly it has been a frustrating last fortnight following defeats to UCC Demons and UL Eagles.

“We are not firing and we need to get back to winning ways and playing Neptune on our home court will be the acid test for us,” David said.

“I am trying to solve the mystery of how our form dipped so suddenly and we need to address it quickly with the play offs around the corner.”

11890 Killester will have a full quota to choose from as they make the trip to a Moycullen side, who are looking for their fifth win of the season.

“We were relieved to get back to winning ways against Neptune but this is another game that is not a forgone conclusion,” said Killester Head Coach Darren O’Neill.

UL Eagles had a mixed weekend when losing to UCC Demons but they bounced back to demolish DCU Saints and coach Mark Keenan is hoping for a repeat performance when they travel to Belfield to play UCD Marian.
“When we play our best basketball we are formidable opponents for any side in this league and the main focus for us right now is not to look beyond the play offs,” Mark said.

UCD Marian showed signs of vast improvement in their recent clash with 11890 Killester despite the 84-81 loss and will be hoping the Play off’s will mark a positive end to their campaign.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, the leaders UL travel to the capital to play Meteors with coach James Weldon hoping for another professional performance.

“Meteors have had a fine season, winning eight games and we certainly won’t be complacent,” said Weldon, whose side are looking for their 31st consecutive win.

DCU Mercy coach Mark Ingle was upbeat despite losing to UL and his side will get a chance to bounce back when they travel to play Killester in an interesting Dublin derby.

“UL are a very good side but I was relatively happy that my team showed a lot of character,” Mark said.

“Killester are a good side that will be looking for some revenge after the cup semi final in January.”

DCU Mercy will complete their double-header weekend when they entertain Ulster Rockets who pushed Waterford Wildcats close last week.

“I was very happy in the manner we battled against Waterford Wildcats and the experience of playing in this league is standing to my players as the season matures,” said the Rockets coach Breda Dick.

Liffey Celtics and Oblate Dynamos will have a rare old battle at the Leixlip centre with both sides looking to build on their solitary wins this season.

Singletons Supervalu Brunell fresh from their win over Oblate Dynamos will look forward to the visit of Waterford Wildcats as coach Kieran O’Leary hopes for back-to-back wins.

“We under-performed against Dynamos but if we get the same looks and our shots drop who knows what may happen against Wildcats,” Kieran said.

Saturday February 25th 2012

Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague
Moycullen (Galway) v 11890 Killester (Dublin), NUIG Kingfisher, 19:00; UCD Marian (Dublin) v UL Eagles (Limerick), UCD Sports Centre, 19:10; Belfast Star (Belfast) v UCC Demons (Cork), DLS Anderstown, 19:15

Nivea Women’s SuperLeague
11890 Killester (Dublin) v DCU Mercy (Dublin), IWA, 18:00; Liffey Celtics (Kildare) v Oblate Dynamos (Dublin), Leixlip Amenities Centre, 19:30

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One
Matt O’Flaherty Chemist Titans (Galway) v Maree 9Galway), Renmore Community Centre, 19:00; Team Left Bank Kilkenny (Kilkenny) v Neptune (Cork), O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Club, 19:00; Team Loftus Recycling Ballina (Mayo) v CHM Ballon (Carlow), Ballina Sports & Leisure Centre,19:30; Team Meadowlands St.Brendan’s (Kerry) v Blue Demons (Cork), Mercy Mounthawk, 19:30

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One
Team Tom McCarthy’s St.Mary’s (Kerry) v Meteors (Dublin), Castleisland Community Centre, 19:45

Sunday February 26th 2012

Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague
DCU Saints (Dublin) v Bord Gais Neptune (Cork), DCU Sports Complex, 16:00; Belfast Star (Belfast) v UCC Demons (Cork), UUJ, 15:00

Nivea Women’s SuperLeague
DCU Mercy (Dublin) v Ulster Rockets (Belfast), DCU Sports Complex, 14:00; Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell (Cork) v Waterford Wildcats (Waterford), Parochial Hall, 14:45; Meteors (Dublin) v UL (Limerick), Colaiste Eoin/Iosagain, 15:00

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