Basketball Ireland weekly preview 12.02.11

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Updated: February 11, 2011

NEPTUNE SET FOR PLAY-OFF FIGHT WITH DEMONS AS 11890 KILLESTER GO MARCHING ON

Another top class fixture list this weekend sees Bord Gais Neptune renew hostilities with UCC Demons in the ‘Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague while Northern Conference leaders 11890 Killester will provide tough opposition for the Ulster Elks.

Cup champions UCD Marian will be anxious to avoid a third successive defeat when they meet Belfast Star, while a resurgent DCU Saints host Moycullen in Sunday’s only clash.
In the Irish Sport.TV Women’s SuperLeague, UL take on Team Montenotte Hotel Cork in Saturday’s ‘Match of the Day’ , while Black Forge Oblate Dynamos and DCU Mercy are set for tests against 11890 Killester and Waterford Wildcats respectively.

Bord Gais Neptune can close the gap on their fierce rivals UCC Demons to just two points if they can collect maximum points on Saturday night.

Demons currently sit second in the Southern Conference, a place that would ensure home advantage in the Play-Off’s if they were to remain there until the end of the regular season, but their old foes aren’t ready to surrender the fight just yet.

“We are excited about being on our home floor against Demons,” said Neptune Head Coach Pat Price. “We will need to play with much more energy, enthusiasm and urgency this weekend in order to keep up with the favourites. We have to put a value on the basketball. We have to demand more from ourselves, and we have to give nothing less than 100% Saturday night on our home court.”

UCC Demons bounced back to winning ways at the expense of Belfast Star in their last outing but their hopes this weekend could be hampered by injury worries to trio Danny Mahony, Niall Murphy and Daniel O’Sullivan.

“Neptune have been building up some momentum since the last derby game and have been keeping teams below their average scoring because of their defence so we know we will have to be patient on the offensive end,” said Demons Head Coach Paul Kelleher.

“We will need to overcome this and focus on the task at hand as a win would secure home court advantage for the play-offs.”

11890 Killester atoned for their cup defeat to UCD Marian by beating the Students in their last league clash and will be favourites to see off lowly Ulster Elks on Saturday night.

“The Elks are a team that can play great basketball at times, as we saw in the first half of their cup semi final with UCD,” said Killester Head Coach Mark Keenan. “They have some great individual players that can score big, as Kevin Foley did last week by hitting 33 points against Moycullen. We must continue where we left off last week against UCD and make sure we are ready for this tough challenge. We must treat every game as a league final from here on in. We must contain Kevin Foley, Ben De La Cruz and Barry Drumm in order to win.”

Elks enjoyed a rare win against Moycullen on Sunday last but their assistant coach Patrick O’Neill is well aware of the challenge that faces his side in Dublin.

“Having lost both times while playing at home, travelling to Killester is a daunting task, while getting a win against Moycullen last weekend will stand to us, we are under no illusions that anything other than a perfect game from us will result in Killester having a clean sweep in the league,” said O’Neill.

UCD Marian have suffered two league defeats since their cup final heroics against Killester and will have to stop that trend against a Belfast Star side who also have sights on reaching the Play Off’s.

Paddy Young is ruled out with an ankle injury for UCD, while Conor Meany and Neil Baynes are both doubtful due to flu symptoms.

“The second slot in the Northern Conference is now for DCU Saints to lose as they control their own destiny in this regard,” said Marian Head Coach Fran Ryan.”The other play off spot is realistically between Star and ourselves.

“Although we lost in Cup rebound weekend there were segments in both games where we played to an extremely high standard which if we produce for 35 minutes of any game will be good enough against most opposition.”

“This is a very important game in trying to make the play-offs,” said Star Head Coach Danny Fulton. “Michael McKillop is available and hopefully Stephen Dawson is over his horrendous 20 hour journey he had before playing last weekend. We got to stop their three point shooters and keep Conor Meany quiet.”

DCU Saints will be without Eanna Rutherford (back injury), while Eoin Quill is rated doubtful for their clash at home to Moycullen.

DCU are on the back of impressive wins in 2011 against the likes of UCD Marian, UCC Demons and 11890 Killester and will be formidable opponents for Moycullen on their own patch.

Moycullen almost secured their second win of the season but were undone at the death by Ulster Elks.

In the IrishSport.TV Women’s SuperLeague, Team Montenotte Hotel Cork travel to UL in a top of the table clash but must do so without the influential Marie Breen.

Injuries have plagued Breen this season but the club are hopeful she will be fit in time for the all important Play-Off’s.

Montenotte managed to beat UL earlier in the season but James Weldon’s side are showing real form of late and are on the back of six successive league wins.

“After the cup game away to DCU earlier in the season, this is probably the biggest game of the season so far,” said UL Head Coach James Weldon. “We are going in the right direction but you can never discount against Montenotte even if they are on the back of two defeats.”

For Montenotte, the game will represent an opportunity to banish the disappointment of losing to DCU Mercy in their recent cup and league clashes.

“If we beat UL we have a great chance of claiming the regular season and heading into the Play-Off’s with home advantage,” said Montenotte Head Coach Mark Scannell. “UL have an abundance of talent, Michelle Fahy brings a lot to the team, while Rachel Vanderwal and Natalie Taylor are quality players.

“UL and DCU are favourites for the league but we are learning and hopefully will be there or thereabouts.”

DCU Mercy will be hoping to add the league to their cup glory and their Head Coach Mark Ingle admits he is happy with the progress being made by his side ahead of their home clash with Waterford Wildcats.

“Our team and new players have bedded in really well,” said Ingle. “They are learning their roles and have managed to fit into our system.”

BI Upcoming Fixtures

Saturday February 12 2011
Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague
Bord Gais Neptune (Cork) v UCC Demons (Cork), Neptune Stadium, 19:00; Belfast Star (Belfast) v UCD Marian (Dublin), De La Salle College, Anderstown, 19:15; 11890 Killester (Dublin) v Ulster Elks (Belfast), IWA Clontarf, 20:00;

IrishSport.TV Women’s SuperLeague
Black Forge Oblate Dynamos (Dublin) v 11890 Killester (Dublin), Oblate Hall, 19:00; UL (Limerick) v Team Montonette Hotel Cork (Cork), UL Arena, 19:30

Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One
Neptune (Cork) v Team Garvey’s St.Mary’s (Castleisland, Kerry), Neptune Stadium, 16:30; Titans (Galway) v Team Loftus Recycling Ballina (Mayo), Renmore Community Centre, 19:00; Waterford (Waterford) v Team Meadowlands St. Brendans (Tralee, Kerry), WIT Sports Hall, 19:30; Tolka Rovers (Dublin) v Blue Demons (Cork), Tolka Rovers Sports Complex, 20:00; Portlaoise (Laois) v Maree (Galway), St.Mary’s Sports Hall, 20:00

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One
UL (Limerick) v Foireann na Gaillimhe (Galway), UL Arena, 17:00; Team Tom McCarthy’s St.Mary’s (Castleisland, Kerry) v Liffey Celtics (Dublin), Castleisland Community Centre, 19:45

Sunday February 13 2011
Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague
DCU Saints (Dublin) v Moycullen (Galway), DCU Sports Complex, 16:00

IrishSport.TV Women’s SuperLeague
DCU Mercy (Dublin) v Waterford Wildcats (Waterford), DCU Sports Complex, 14:00

Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One
Brunell (Cork) v Meteors (Dublin), Parochial Hall, 14:45

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