This weekend see’s some fantastic games in both the Men’s and Women’s Super Leagues. In the men’s, league leaders DBS Eanna and Neptune both have a weekend off so it will be up to the chasing pack to make some big moves this weekend. All eyes will be on Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night for the huge clash between Templeogue and Tralee. In the Women’s league, the drama kicks off on Friday evening as a Cork derby kicks off a action packed weekend.
Garveys Tralee Warriors vs Griffith College Templeogue (Saturday, Tralee Sports Complex, 19.30)
Undoubtedly the tie of the round and one of the fixtures people circle early in their calendars. Winning six of the nine available trophies over the last three years, this duo are certainly the most consistent forces in Irish basketball at the moment. Both come in on the back of comprehensive victories over weaker opposition last week and this weekend will be a major test for both teams. Tralee have dropped two games but when Dick and Donaghy are both there they have been dominant. Templeogue have yet to win on the road, dropping their one away game to Belfast Star in week one. Both teams have great coaches, deep benches, multiple Americans and lots of Irish talent in what should be fantastic game that could well impact who holds the Super League title at the end of the season.
Abbey Seals Dublin Lions vs Pyrobel Killester (Saturday, Colaiste Bride, 17.30)
Dublin Lions are yet to win a game in their debut season in the Super League but this presents a good opportunity against a Killester team that have yet to hit their full stride. Lions lost last weekend to Neptune in Cork but there have been signs of improvement each week. Romonn Nelson impressed with 30 points last week in Cork and he will be looked to for scoring again this week. Killester have yet to play with an American and have shown mixed form. Last week they lost heavily at home to an impressive Eanna team. With wins against DCU and Belfast Star the quality is definitely there for Killester but greater consistency is needed.
Belfast Star vs Moycullen (Saturday, De La Salle, 18.30)
Belfast bounced back from a tough away loss to Killester with a convincing win over Maree last weekend. Delaney Blaylock has the ability to score at a high level as he showed last weekend with 27 points. CJ Fulton is also providing a consistency befitting a more experienced player. For Moycullen, last weekend they pushed UCD Marian all the way but lost out by 6 points after a hard fought game. Paul Kelly and Conor Curran both shot the ball last weekend but Moycullen weren’t able to deal with UCD Marian’s athleticism around the basket. This weekend Moycullen will need to shoot the ball at a high level to compete with a Star team who are very comfortable at home.
DCU Saints vs Keanes Supervalu Killorglin (Saturday, St Vincents CBS, 19.00)
The less said about last weekend for DCU Saints the better. In a “home game” played in Carrickmacross, DCU trailed from the outset and were down by 38 points at halftime. They struggled to contain Tralee and their American point guard Jonathan Lawson (35 points) in particular. This week they face Kerry opponents again in Killorglin. Killorglin struggled themselves last week against Templeogue away from home. Giving up 108 points will worry Colin O’Reilly and they will need a much better defensive performance this weekend if they are going to get their second win of the year. Allan Thomas was the main bright point for them last weekend as he scored 37 points. With DCU struggling to contain scoring guards, this could be an ideal game for Thomas to show even more of what he is capable of.
Maree vs UCD Marian (Saturday, Calasanctius College, 19.30)
Maree gave a great account of themselves on the road last weekend in Belfast but came undone late on. American Darin Johnson struggled from the field hitting just 3/13 while Eoin Rockall led the way with 4 three pointers. This week they face UCD Marian in a game they won last year. Ioannis Liapakis would point to that loss last year as a major stumbling block in Marian’s quest to defend their title last year and he will be keen for them to win this weekend to keep the pressure on the top teams. Last weekend UCD struggled at times at home to Moycullen, trailing by as many as 10 but good work by American Mike Garrow helped them to pull out an important win. The battle of Garrow and Johnson could decide this game.
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League
Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Fr Mathews, (Friday, Mardyke Arena, 19:30)
Coming off a weekend a bye week, Glanmire are back in the fire with a massive Cork Derby this weekend against Fr Mathews. Glanmire sit at 1-1 and will be looking for a big win against their local neighbours. The game has added spice as both Chantell Alford and Grainne Dwyer previously played for Glanmire under Mark Scannell so the teams will be very familiar with each other. Mathews come in off the back of a narrow home win over Carlow in a game that was tighter than expected. Shannon Brady continued her excellent start to the season with 21 points and Mathews will need a big performance from her inside if they are going to get the win this week. With two teams so familiar with each other it is set to be a cracker.
IT Carlow Basketball v DCU Mercy, Barrow Centre (Saturday, IT Carlow, 15:15)
IT Carlow put in a much-improved performance last weekend away to Fr Mathews losing by just 6 points. Alyssa Velles was excellent with 27 and Kaitlyn Slagus helped with 20. Things don’t get easier this week in the search for a win as they welcome league leaders DCU Mercy. Mercy won a top of the table clash at home to WIT Wildcats with Irish international Sarah Woods leading the way with 24 points. Ominously for the league this deep DCU team have won their first three games and have beaten Wildcats and Liffey Celtics, two of their potential title rivals, on the way. It looks likely that Carlow’s search for a win will continue past this weekend.
Marble City Hawks v Maree, (Saturday, O Loughlins GAA, 17:00)
Marble City Hawks struggled again last weekend as they came up short against Killester in Dublin. Aine Sheehy and Cassidy Williams scored well but again there just weren’t enough scoring options for Hawks as they managed just 45 points. They are averaging just 50 points a game which will make life tough in a very competitive Super League. Maree have an unusual task this weekend as they look to bounce back from their first ever loss at Senior National Level. Their unbeaten run finally came to an end at the hands of defending champions Liffey Celtics. Claire Rockall led the way but there just wasn’t enough depth in scoring last weekend as they lost out 76-70 at home. This weekend as they look to bounce back Joe Shields will be looking for his team to not only win but also to get more of his squad involved in the scoring which will help them further down the road.
Maxol WIT Wildcats v Pyrobel Killester (Saturday, Mercy Gym, 19:00)
WIT Wildcats may have lost their unbeaten start to the season but they certainly gave a great account of themselves in Dublin. Leading by 5 at half time they asked a lot of questions of title favourites DCU Mercy and ultimately just came up short. Promisingly for Wildcats they got 21 points from Abbie Flynn and Debbie Ogayemi and the two youngsters will be a big part of their title push this year. Killester took care of business at home to MC Hawks last week and they will be looking forward to a big challenge in Waterford. Christa Reed was in excellent form and Irish International Ashling McCann chipped in an impressive 21 points. Wildcats have a slight advantage at home but this should be a great game between two teams that sit on 2-1.
Liffey Celtics v Singleton SuperValu Brunell (Saturday, Leixlip Amenities Centre, 19:00)
Liffey Celtics season looked in peril as they trailed Killester heading into the 4th quarter of their second game but since then they have played some fantastic basketball. Last weekend they went to Galway and beat a Maree time high on confidence. Kylee Smith was excellent with 32 points and Liffey look to be clicking under their new head coach. Brunell didn’t play last weekend and have been waiting two weeks to try and get their season back on course. Losses to Killester and Maree mean they are 0-2 and things won’t get easier this weekend. Going to the defending champions may provide them with a pressure free opportunity to play and they will also be looking to make amends for last season’s cup final loss to the same opposition. With Liffey playing well, it’s a big challenge but not one that Brunell don’t have the ability to answer.