UCD win scuppers Vincent's title hopes


St Vincent's Irish American star Dave Conlon was an early casualty in an extremely close Dublin derby game won by UCD-Marian 93-91 after overtime yesterday in Glasnevin. Conlon played only four minutes before leaving the court with a bad looking ankle injury which could keep him out of action for several weeks.

The remarkable strength in depth of the St Vincent's bench was severely tested by Conlon's absence and they performed well enough to win only to be robbed of a notable success by a superb equalising three-pointer by Marian's Gary Edge in the final minute of normal time.

St Vincent's American Andy Meyer stepped up his game to score 35 points and fill some of the void left by Conlon's absence, but Marian eventually ground down the weakened home defence to win by two points in overtime with Kevin Ellery their top scorer on 33.

St Vincent's defeat, coupled with Ballina's home loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night, means that, approaching the half way point of the season next weekend, the title race is already effectively down to just two teams.

Notre Dame remain unbeaten, extending their 100 per cent record in the league to eight games after their comprehensive 92-78 win over Ballina who were severely weakened by the absence of their injured American Joseph McLean.

Star of the Sea are doggedly pursuing Notre Dame and are just two points adrift after a very impressive 107-91 victory over Neptune in front of a crowd of 1,400 in Cork on Saturday night.

Star took control early on to lead by 19 points at half time and in spite of 40 points from Neptune's new Cuban Augusto Palacios Duquesne, Star won well with Chuck Guittar (33 pts) and Gareth McGuire (29pts) both outstanding.

Behind Notre Dame and second placed Star, there is a four-point gap back to just Dungannon in third place. They may not have the stars or depth to challenge for the title but they continue to win important close games and they once again prevailed on Saturday, 72-70 away to Tralee.

Killester's new American Earnest Jones looks to be a fine replacement for the recently injured Andy Wilmot and his 30 points were crucial in their 96-89 win over Killarney.

In Division One, Sligo stretched their 100 per cent record to eight games with a 9789 win in Dublin over Tridents.

In the women's superleague, Naomh Mhuire led for most of the Dublin derby against Meteors in Sandyford on Saturday but only pulled away to win in the final minutes when both sides were in foul trouble.

Tolka remain joint second with Naomh Mhuire after an easy 89-56 win in Tralee.

Wildcats are unbeaten at the top of the table after eight games following their crushing 146-67 win in Castleisland. Wildcats tally is the highest recorded by any team in the three National League divisions this season and is one of the biggest totals ever recorded in Irish basketball at national level.