Tricky challenges ahead as race for honours hots up


BASKETBALL:As the chase for the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague title heats up, two challengers have emerged from the pack as defending champions UL Eagles and UCC Demons look to race ahead of their competitors.

They both face tricky away challenges this weekend as the lads from Limerick travel to Galway where they play Moycullen while Demons must journey to Dublin and a match up with the unpredictable UCD Marian.

Elsewhere Bord Gáis Neptune, fresh off a dramatic mid-week victory, host Dublin Inter in Cork while the team on the losing side of that Wednesday night game, Killester, take on Dublin rivals DCU Saints.

Despite remaining perched atop the Men’s SuperLeague table, UL Eagles are coming into Saturday’s game after back-to-back losses, which amounts to their worst stretch of the season.

A comforting fact for head coach Mark Keenan, however, will be that they face a very different team in Moycullen than the two teams that beat them recently, namely DCU Saints and Killester. While the latter two have a lot of size and bulk, Moycullen rely on quick guard play and could struggle to contain the strength and power of Eagles’ front-court.

Regardless, Keenan knows that his team needs to regain focus if they are to get the win and set themselves back on track to lift the league trophy again this year.

“It is a very important game for us. After two losses we really need to get some form back, especially with the cup semi-final only a week away,” he said.

This weekend’s action in the Women’s SuperLeague sees Team Montenotte Hotel Cork return to action after their exciting victory over previously undefeated UL Huskies last time out.

The win ended a 45-game winning streak for Huskies and left Glanmire just one game back of the defending champions and with a game in hand. This weekend they face Killester in Cork, a game few would expect the home team to drop.

Saturday Men’s SuperLeague: Moycullen v UL Eagles, NUI Galway, 3.45; Bord Gáis Neptune v Dublin Inter, Neptune Stadium, 7pm; DCU Saints v Killester, DCU Complex, 7pm; UCD Marian v UCC Demons, UCD Sports Complex, 7pm. Women’s SuperLeague: Ulster Rockets v Liffey Celtics, De La Salle, 6.30; Team Montenotte Hotel Cork v Killester, Upper Glanmire Sports Centre, 7pm; WIT Wildcats v DCU Mercy, Mercy College, 7pm. Sunday Women’s SuperLeague: Singleton SuperValu Brunell v WIT Wildcats, Parochial Hall Cork, 2.45; Meteors v UL Huskies, Coláiste Iosagain, 3pm.