Basketball

PREVIEW: No Easy Games For DCU Mercy In Their Title Quest

PREVIEW: No Easy Games For DCU Mercy In Their Title Quest

With just five games to go in the Women’s Super League, DCU Mercy are getting closer and closer to the league title as they hold a two-game lead over 2nd place Maree. Things won’t be straightforward for Mercy  though as they face four of the top 6 teams and the team who knocked them out of the Cup semi-final. The question will be though will the other teams also take games off each other and lessen the pressure on DCU? 

IT Carlow v Pyrobel Killester (Barrow Centre, Saturday, 3.15pm)

Sitting on just four losses, Cup Champions Killester are not yet gone from the title race and they are looking at an excellent finishing position for the playoffs. They head to the Barrow Centre to face IT Carlow this weekend. Carlow have just one win this season but did give a good account of themselves on the road against DCU last weekend. Killester won the first matchup between the teams by 48 points and with their current form will expect to win comfortably again this weekend. 

Maree v WIT Wildcats (Corrandulla Hall, Saturday, 5.15pm)

Maree are the closest team to DCU Mercy sitting just two games back. They have beaten DCU this season already and play them again soon. They know that they can’t afford any other losses as they try and keep pressure on the leaders. That is easier said then done though as WIT Wildcats come to town. Maree won the game in Waterford by 12 but Wildcats are still right in the playoff mix and will be looking for a big win to solidify their spot. The challenge is made trickier for Maree this weekend as their home venue this weekend is not their usual home setting of Calasanctius College, so unfamiliar surroundings could make this more difficult for the home team.

Marble City Hawks v Singleton Supervalu Brunell (Saturday, O’Loughlins GAA, 5pm)

Hawks currently sit at the foot of the table without a win and they know that their opportunities to get off the bottom are limited. This weekend will be a game they feel they can target as Brunell have just two league wins to their name. Brunell have shown lots of quality in recent weeks and their record probably doesn’t reflect the talent on the team. Injuries to key players like Danielle O’Leary and Katie Walsh has them limited though and Hawks won’t have a better chance to win against them. Finding a way to limit Treyanna Clay could be the key for Hawks although that has proved difficult for almost every team this season.

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Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics (Sunday, Mardyke Arena, 2.30pm)

Glanmire’s title hopes took a major hit last weekend as they lost out to Fr Mathews. The normally high scoring Glanmire offense ground to a halt and they managed just 68 points in a heavy defeat to Mathews. They now have four losses and are unlikely to catch DCU Mercy at the top. This week they welcome Liffey Celtics who are coming in off the back of a good win away to Brunell. The return of Brianna Green and the addition of Jaiamoni Welch Coleman has added to the Liffey team in recent weeks and with their championship experience they will not give up anything easily to Glanmire. The battle between Shrita Parker and Welch Coleman is definitely one to watch and could decide the game. 

DCU Mercy v Fr Mathews (Sunday, DCU, 2.30pm)

Each win takes DCU a step closer to the league title but with their upcoming schedule none of the games are easy. Fr Mathews are first to take up the challenge. They come into the game fresh off a demolition of Glanmire last weekend. Their big 3 of Grainne Dwyer, Chantell Alford and Shannon Brady combined for over 60 points last weekend and when they get rolling the team is tough to stop. Mercy are unbeaten at home this season and if they can maintain that home advantage, they will win the league. DCU have the depth advantage this weekend but Mathews have star power and they could definitely trouble the leaders. This is a must watch game.

Men’s Super League

In the Men’s league chaos has been the norm in the final weeks of the season for the last three seasons. This year looks set to the same. With six weeks remaining five teams are separated by just two games and another two teams are just three of the top. There are no easy games in the league anymore and it’s possible this year’s league winners could have as many as seven losses. Strap in for the final few weeks of what is set to be a wild ride.

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Abbey Seals Dublin Lions v Moycullen (Saturday, Colaiste Bhride, 5.30pm)

Moycullen are winners of three of their last four games and are scrapping for their Super League lives. This week they face a Lions team who are already relegated mathematically and are still looking for their first win of the campaign. Despite good recent work by Moycullen they are still tied with Maree and DCU on six wins and they need to find a way to pull out some more wins to avoid the relegation playoff. This is a great opportunity to do that and they cannot afford to slip up. It was a six-point win for Moycullen the first time the sides met so it should be tight again this week.

Belfast Star v Keene’s Supervalu Killorglin (Saturday, De La Salle, 6.30pm)

Belfast Star need to bounce back from their defeat to Moycullen last weekend to keep their title chase alive. They welcome Killorglin who make the almost 500km drive to Belfast. In the first meeting between the teams Killorglin came away with a last second win. Belfast had played the previous night in Galway so it was a tough schedule for them, and they will be hopeful that their strong homecourt advantage will help them get over the line this week. Killorglin have been in good form winning four of their last six games, so it won’t be easy for Star. 

Coughlan C&S Neptune v Griffith College Templeogue (Saturday, Neptune Stadium, 7pm)

A rematch of the cup semi-final gives Neptune another shot at Templeogue in Neptune Stadium. Neptune come in on the back of a high scoring overtime win over DBS Eanna, while Templeogue lost a classic at home to Tralee. At seven losses it’s hard to see Templeogue winning the league, although it’s not impossible. Neptune have just six losses and are right in the mix but need this one to push Templeogue out of the race and give themselves more breathing room. In the cup semi-final Neptune were in control for the majority of the match but free throw shooting cost them down the stretch. This will likely be a tight game so the little plays will be crucial again this week.

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DCU Saints v UCD Marian (Saturday, DCU, 7pm)

DCU were unlucky to come away from Killorglin without a win last weekend. It was even more impressive by the absence of Martins Provizors. They will give UCD Marian a big challenge this weekend in DCU. In the first game between the teams, UCD came away with a two-point win in a dramatic game. UCD come into the game on a four-game winning streak. Their defence was excellent last weekend against Maree, and they will need it to be great again this weekend if they are to go to DCU and win. Both teams have huge incentives to win at either end of the table and it should be a must watch game. 

Maree v DBS Eanna (Saturday, Carandulla, 2.45pm) 

Maree struggled badly last weekend in their loss to UCD where they trailed by over 25 points in the first quarter. They will be hoping that the new surroundings of Corrandulla will help them improve this weekend. They welcome a DBS Eanna team that are in a mini rut at the moment. Eanna have lost the Cup Final and three of their last four league games in recent weeks. They are still in the title race, but they can’t afford for this current form to continue much longer. The emotion of the cup final can prove a distraction for teams, especially in a club’s first time there so it will be important for them to get a good win and performance to get back on track this weekend. They have the weapons to do so and just need to get their confidence back. 

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v Pyrobel Killester (Saturday, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30pm) 

Coming into the season this would have been pencilled in as a potential title decider, but things haven’t been straight forward for Killester this year. Injuries and issues with Americans derailed their season for months and they found themselves in unfamiliar territory near the foot of the table. Two wins in a row and improved health have things looking up for Killester now and they will head to Tralee with hopes of upsetting the Warriors. Tralee won this game in the cup in Tralee and they know that as the finish line is in sight each win is critical at this time of the year. Last year it was a late run of wins that won Tralee the title and they will be hoping to do the same again this season. Killester have experienced players all over the floor and could relish a big challenge in Tralee. Definitely one to watch.

Balls Team

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