As we head into March this weekend the Women’s Super League title could be wrapped up if DCU Mercy can beat their closest rivals Maree in Dublin. In the Men’s league the two leaders have games against teams in the bottom third of the table so unless there are major shocks the title race should remain unchanged heading into the final two games of the year.
Women’s Super League
DCU Mercy v Maree (Sunday, DCU, 2.30pm)
Maree survived last weekend in overtime and in doing so have set up this mammoth clash with DCU Mercy. The situation for DCU is simple, win and they are champions. For Maree they need to win to push the league into the final weekend of the season where they face IT Carlow and DCU have the more difficult trip to Cork to face Glanmire. Maree also know that if they can win their final two games and DCU drop theirs then the league title will be theirs as they would own the head to head with DCU. The teams have faced off twice already this season with DCU winning in Dublin in the Cup and Maree winning in the league in Galway. Dayna Finn is back with Maree and didn’t play in those two games and she could be influential this weekend. In last weekend’s overtime thriller with Killester, Finn had 33 points which helped cover the absence of Claire Rockall. Her matchup with either Sarah Woods or Ashley Russell will be one to watch. DCU struggled at times against Brunell but they head home this weekend and have yet to lose in Dublin this year. The pressure is very much on Mercy to avoid a last weekend battle but with their performances at home to date they have the quality to win in what should be the game of the season.
Fr Mathews v Singleton Supervalu Brunell (Saturday, Fr Mathews Arena, 5pm)
A loss last weekend to Leixlip suddenly sees Fr Mathews on the outside of the playoff race looking in. Last weekend Mathews couldn’t score as they managed just 50 points. They shot just 29% overall and managed zero free throws in the entire game. With a tricky trip to Dublin next week, Mathews know they need this win to give themselves any hope of a playoff spot. Brunell pushed DCU for the whole game last weekend before ultimately losing out. Although Brunell are now safe and have nothing to play for, a Cork derby will undoubtedly bring out the best in them and it should be a close fought game.
Marble City Hawks v WIT Wildcats (Saturday, O’Loughlins GAA, 5pm)
Marble City’s relegation has been confirmed already but they have two chances left to get one win this season. They were well beaten again last weekend by 2nd bottom Carlow, which highlights the gulf between Hawks and the rest of the league this season. Wildcats come into the game on a four-game losing streak, yet they remain in a tie for the final playoff place and nothing less than a win will be acceptable. Wildcats won the first meeting of the teams by 30 earlier in the year with their defense stifling Hawks. It’s difficult to see anything but the same happening this weekend.
Pyrobel Killester v Ambassador UCC Glanmire (Saturday, IWA Clontarf, 5pm)
Cup Champions Killester went to Maree last weekend and narrowly lost out in an overtime classic. That is back to back defeats for Karl Kilbride’s team. Things don’t get any easier this week as they host Glanmire in a repeat of the cup semi-final classic between the teams. In that game Shrita Parker caused huge problems for Killester but the injury to Tatum Neubert derailed Glanmire and Killester took full advantage. Killester are dangerous when shooting well and the IWA is a shooters gym. This could be a high scoring open game with both teams liking to play at a fast pace and with lots of shooting. Both teams are likely safe in their playoff position, but the rivalry alone will bring extra spice to this game.
Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics v IT Carlow (Sunday, Leixlip Amenities, 3pm)
In recent weeks Liffey Celtics have been rejuvenated and their huge win in Cork last weekend looks set to be critical in the push for playoff spots. With two home games against the bottom two teams Celtics will expect to win both and claim a playoff spot. They need to do the job on the floor though and they will need a strong performance from Welch-Coleman who has been scoring well in recent weeks. They will also need to limit Kaitlyn Slagus who had 35 last week in Carlow’s win. The incentive is there for the home team and they should be able to do the business.
Men’s Super League
Abbey Seals Dublin Lions v Belfast Star (Saturday, Colaiste Bride, 5.30pm)
With just three games remaining Belfast Star’s title challenge is still going strong and they are right there with Tralee in a two-horse race. Big wins over UCD and Eanna over the last two weeks have Star in confident mood heading into the home straight. This week they head to Dublin Lions in a matchup they should win. Lions are finishing the season out with no American and are already relegated. They are playing hard for Rob White though and won’t lie down easily. Star should have enough to win convincingly and keep the title dream alive.
Coughlan C&S Neptune v DCU Saints (Saturday, Neptune Stadium, 7pm)
Despite a great start to the season Neptune have now lost six of their last eight games and are in a dogfight for the last playoff spots. A twenty-point loss at home to Moycullen will have disappointed the Neptune faithful and they will be hoping for a big bounce back this weekend. DCU come into the game with their tails up after recent wins over Templeogue and UCD. Saints are inconsistent though and have largely struggled outside of the capital. Both teams prefer working inside out and it should be a physical contest in the paint. Neptune have the better perimeter talent, but they haven’t had the season expected of them so far. A win for DCU keeps their slim playoff hopes alive. Expect this one to go down to the wire.
DBS Eanna v UCD Marian (Saturday, Colaiste Eanna, 7pm)
Eanna’s chance for a league and cup double was alive at Christmas time but a first cup final seems to have derailed their league campaign. Winning just one of their six league games in 2020, Eanna are now in a battle for the final playoff spots. They currently have eight losses with an extra game to play. A loss to UCD and they would be in a tight battle. A win though would secure their spot and move them into a possible top 4 finish. UCD bounced back from recent losses with a 20-point win over relegated Dublin Lions. Marian will have Mike Garrow back this week and will need him at his best if they are to win. In the first meeting between the teams Eanna won out comfortably in UCD and will be hopeful of a repeat performance this weekend.
Griffith College Templeogue v Moycullen (Saturday, Nord Anglia, 7pm)
When Templeogue look back at where their title challenge lost course, they can look to their trips to Galway where they lost to both Maree and Moycullen. Moycullen have had some fantastic wins this season against good opposition yet have lost games to the teams around them too often. With just three games remaining Moycullen face into a relegation playoff unless they can pull off some more magic. Templeogue lost last weekend without the services of Jason Killeen and they will be hoping to build some form over the coming weeks to ensure they are ready for the upcoming Champions Trophy. Not many have come to Nord Anglia and won this season and it’s hard to see Moycullen doing so although not many would have expected them to win by 20 in Cork last weekend either.
Pyrobel Killester v Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin (Saturday, IWA Clontarf, 7pm)
A couple of week’s ago Killester were second bottom of the league and now they are knocking at the door of the playoffs after some good recent results. Killester have a record of 9-10 while they face Killorglin who sit one game ahead on 10-9. A win for the Dubliners and they are tied for the final playoff spot. Killorglin won the first meeting between the teams by 9 points so should it come down to a head to head between the teams, Killester have the added pressure that they need to win by more than 9 this weekend. In the last matchup Killester had no American so they will be confident that at home they can do more this weekend in what should be a tactical battle between two experienced teams.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v Maree (Saturday, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30pm)
Tralee are currently just three games away from being the first back to back League Champions since UCC Demons four years ago. Maree are a tricky team at times but have struggled outside of Galway recently. The size, home crowd and experience are all with Tralee and they should win again putting pressure on Belfast Star going into the final two weeks.