This weekend saw three of the four Hula Hoops Men's Pat Duffy National Cup quarter-finals take place across the country.
Last year's Cup finalists Pyrobel Killester booked their spot in January's semi-finals with a thrilling 82-60 point win over Moycullen on Sunday at the Jes in Galway.
“It’s never easy coming down to play Moycullen, they’re extremely talented and well-coached,” said Killester coach Brian O’Malley. “We had to fight for everything. We had to match their ferocious intensity, it was nip and tuck. We didn’t start very well, but we came into it more in the second quarter.
“These are the types of games that are easy to go the wrong way. They beat us in the league already so we knew it would be tough. We’re delighted to be looking forward to a cup semi-final in January.”
Meanwhile, Black Amber Templeogue are back in the semi-final stages this year, having missed out last year after losing to Griffith College Swords Thunder in the quarter-finals. Templeogue, who won the cup in 2016, played out a thrilling quarter-final game against near neighbours, Éanna, at Oblate Hall on Saturday night. Brilliant scoring from Lawrence "Puff" Summers, Mike Bonaparte and Neil Randolph towards the end of the game gave the side an 81-76 point victory.
"It was absolutely a tough game. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, we knew it was going to be a dog fight," said coach Mark Keenan. "They've a lot of size. We looked great at times and then we let them back in. I'm delighted to get out and get a win and move on to the semi-finals. We had happy times two years ago, then we missed out last year, so it was a goal to get back there again."
The other quarter-final pairing saw table-toppers UCD Marian secure a 87-53 point win over DCU Saints. "We are delighted to be in the semi-finals, but I'm more delighted about the performance we had tonight," said Marian head coach, Ioannis Liapakis.
"I know most people will say that Conor Meany and Mike Garrow had an amazing offensive game, which is true, but for me, tonight was all about defence. We have the best defence in the league and that's what we proved tonight."
It was regular Super League action for Maree and Belfast Star, meanwhile, who went head-to-head in Oranmore on Saturday night. Scoring from Star's Quinn twins Aidan and Conor saw them overcome the Galway side by 14 points in the end.
In the Women's Super League meanwhile, IT Carlow Basketball were on hand to cause a major upset in Leixlip on Saturday evening as they won 68-65 against Courtyard Liffey Celtics.
"We played some of the best basketball I've seen from my team in the first half tonight," said head coach Martin Conroy afterwards. "We put up 49 points in a half against a team of the quality of Liffey Celtics – which was awesome for us. We knew that they would come back in the second half, but we were ready for it. Even when we went behind late in the fourth, we believed we could win it.
“We made some huge shots down the stretch and that, along with a strong defensive stance, gave us what we needed to win. We showed immense character out there.”
DCU Mercy, meanwhile, remain top of the table this week after a comprehensive win over NUIG Mystics in Galway – in a game that will be repeated in just a few weeks' time when the sides go head-to-head in the Hula Hoops Women's National Cup semi-finals in Cork in January.
Elsewhere, Ambassador UCC Glanmire secured a win over Maxol WIT Wildcats, while Singleton SuperValu Brunell won out in a thriller against Pyrobel Killester at the IWA in Clontarf.
In the Men’s Division One, Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin remain unbeaten at the top of the table following three games in five days which saw them overcome Neptune, Gamefootage.net Titans and fellow table toppers Ballincollig.
In the Women’s Division One meanwhile, Fr Mathews’ unbeaten run came to an end this week as they lost out in overtime to Meteors on Saturday before losing out to Fabplus North West at home on Sunday.