Saints pull out the stops

 

A weekend of close calls and none more crucial then the two victories for the Saints. After four successive defeats, they managed to sneak past Tyrone and Limerick and regain their place at the top of the table.

Joint leaders Waterford sat out the action this weekend, but the Saints needed these points as much for the confidence as for their title chances. Saturday's trip to Tyrone was supposed to be the easier outing yet it took a buzzer-beating basket in overtime from Stephen McGuirk to give them the 93-92 victory.

Tyrone had previously spurned two glorious chances to win the game. Ahead with 17 seconds to go, Kieran Goodacre lost their possession and that allowed David Donnelly to draw level. They also held the advantage as the clock ran out in overtime, only for Shane Treanor to concede a travel violation and give the Saints the crucial possession.

Yesterday, the Saints hosted Limerick and once again they had to play flat out for the victory. The first two quarters were basket for basket, with Limerick ahead 46-44 at the half. They then stretched that to 69-61.

But Donald Edge and McGuirk worked tirelessly in defence and that helped the Saints claw their way back. Mark Keenan shot over the decisive score with just 17 seconds left. The all-Cork battle between visiting Demons and champions Neptune was an equally tense affair. Again it went to overtime, but with Rasuel McKune back on court for Neptune, the home side eventually sneaked the win, 91-89.

For a while it had appeared Demons would cut through them. Leading 34-22 after the first quarter, Tobe Carberre was proving a real headache for Neptune. They were still up 7057 after the third quarter, before Stephen McCarthy helped inspire the comeback that eventually forced overtime.

Elsewhere, UCD Marian continue to push themselves up the table with an 87-74 win over Killester and are now joint third. But maintaining a weekend of close calls, Star of the Sea edged past Tralee 95-93.