UCC Demons clear favourites to hold on to their national crown

Women’s cup holders Montenotte Hotel aiming to make it a Cork double

UCC Demons player-coach Colin O’Reilly: “With the 80s being gone and the 90s, everyone said they were the boom years for basketball. The Irish players are better right now than they were back then.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

UCC Demons player-coach Colin O’Reilly: “With the 80s being gone and the 90s, everyone said they were the boom years for basketball. The Irish players are better right now than they were back then.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

One of Ireland’s greatest players has hailed the current generation as “better than ever” ahead of the sport’s marquee event this weekend.

Colin O’Reilly is player-coach with men’s National Cup finalists UCC Demons who take on UCD Marian in front of a live television audience tomorrow. The 2,000 seater capacity National Arena is sold out for both the men’s and women’s deciders.

“With the 80s being gone and the 90s obviously, everyone said they were the boom years for basketball. The Irish players are better right now than they were back then,” he said.

Cup holders Demons are the clear favourites for Saturday night’s final on the back of a 15 -game unbeaten run in all competitions.

“Most of the scores they get are through transition and three-point shots,” says UCD Marian Coach Ioannis Liapakis. “We’ll look to move the ball as much as we can and try to be aggressive. That’s the main plan.”

Opposite ends

Aisling Sullivan

“To say I’m excited right now is an understatement,” said the captain. “Team Montenotte have earned the right to be favourites. We just need to play hard and play our game and anything can happen on the day. We’re looking to peak at the right time of the season.”

Eight national finals will be contested in total this weekend.

Glanmire and Brunell compete in the U20 Women’s decider for the second year running and Glanmire’s U18’s will play DCU Mercy in their final. Sara Guebaili will feature for Mercy while her twin brother Tariq plays in the U18 Men’s final for St Vincent’s against Fr Mathews. It’s a proud weekend for their mother.

SSE Airtricity Moycullen of Galway feature in both the U20 Men’s and Presidents’ Cup finals.

All the games will be streamed live.

WEEKEND FIXTURES Tomorrow – National Cup finals – Women – Under-18: DCU Mercy v Glanmire BC, 11.0. Senior: Killester v Team Montenotte Hotel, 6.0. Men – Under-20: Belfast Star v Moycullen BC, 1.0. Senior: UCD Marian v C&S UCC Demons, 8.0. Sunday – Men – Under18: St Vincent’s v Fr Mathews, 10.30. Women – Under-20: Glanmire v Brunell Ladies, 12.30. President’s: C&S Blue Demons v SSE Airtricity Moycullen, 2.30

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