With just five games to go in the Men’s Super League, Tralee are in pole position. This weekend they face Moycullen on the road but will have one eye on UCD as Belfast Star and UCD Marian go head to head in what could have a major influence on the title race.
UCD Marian v Belfast Star (Saturday, UCD, 7pm)
This should be one of the most intriguing matches of the weekend and could have a big impact on the title race. Star are just one game behind Tralee in the league standings and need to keep the pressure up on the Warriors. UCD hasn’t been a friendly gym for Star in recent years and they will face a tough challenge against a Marian team that are just one game behind them in the league standings. In the first meeting between the teams Star beat an understrength UCD team in Belfast and this game will likely be a lot closer. Star have more outside shooting but UCD have been dogged and have scored well in the paint and in transition. A win for Star keeps the title race alive for the Belfast men but it won’t come easily.
DBS Eanna vs DCU Saints (Saturday, Colaiste Eanna, 7pm)
2020 has been strange to Eanna so far. The highs of getting to their first ever cup final have been coupled with the lows of a loss of form in the league. They have now lost four league games in a row and five of their last six games overall. It’s hard to pinpoint what has gone wrong for Eanna in recent weeks but in a league with so little margin for error, the penalty for a loss of focus can be extreme. Now just one game above Killorglin in the Champions Trophy race DBS need to reignite their season and fast. This weekend they welcome DCU Saints who had a big overtime win over UCD Marian last weekend. DCU are very dangerous and their inside talent will cause Eanna issues. DCU have lots to play for with the possibility of a relegation battle still there so this should be a great battle and won’t be an easy home game for Eanna.
Pyrobel Killester v Coughlan C&S Neptune (Saturday, IWA, 7pm)
Killester have been in better form recently but last weekend they struggled against Tralee in Kerry. The return to the IWA this week and will face a Neptune team who have been up and down over the last two months. Both teams have excellent weapons all over the floor and this could be an excellent battle. Kyle Hosford vs Isaac Westbooks is always box office and is just one battle to keep an eye on this weekend. Neptune have slightly more scoring available to them but Killester are capable of top quality defense. Both teams like to run when possible but this will probably be more of a half court battle. Killester remain just one game out of the relegation spots and they need to find wins soon to give themselves some breathing room for the final few weeks.
Keanes Supervalu Killorglin v Abbey Seals Dublin Lions (Saturday, Killorglin Sports Complex, 7.15pm)
With nine losses, Killorglin are currently on the outside of the Champions Trophy playoff spots and they are running out of time to move into the playoff picture. This weekend is a perfect opportunity to put more pressure on the Top 6 as they welcome Dublin Lions to Kerry. Lions come into the game in high spirits after picking up their first ever Super League win last weekend. Heading to Killorglin and winning on the road will be another major challenge for the Dubliners who are already relegated. These games are about developing their Irish core but it Is hard to see past the home side in this one, particularly with the depth of experience and overseas talent at their disposal.
Moycullen v Garvey’s Tralee Warriors (Saturday, Kingfisher Arena, 7.30pm)
Tralee head on the road for the second last time this season as they attempt to close out a second consecutive league championship. They face a Moycullen team that unexpectedly lost last weekend to Dublin Lions. Moycullen are now in real danger of the relegation playoff as they sit a game behind the next pack of three teams. Moycullen often struggle dealing with size and physicality and that is exactly what Tralee will bring to the table this weekend. Last weekend Tralee easily disposed of Killester and barring their sights being set on a Kerry derby next weekend this looks set to be another step on their quest for back to back leagues.
Griffith College Templeogue v Maree (Saturday, Nord Anglia, 7.45pm)
Templeogue’s loss to Maree earlier in the season was one of the blows that took them out of contention for the league early. They will be expecting to rectify that this weekend as they host Maree in Nord Anglia. Maree beat Eanna last weekend in an excellent display but their inconsistency still haunts them. They have won just two games outside of Galway this year and Templeogue will be keen to keep it that way. With a semi final in the Champions Trophy already assured Templeogue are trying to build over the coming weeks in an attempt to peak again in late March when more silverware is available.
Women’s Super League
DCU cleared the first of their closing hurdles last weekend as they dismantled a good Fr Mathews team by 25 points. Next up to challenge Mercy are the Cup Champions Killester in a North Dublin derby. Closest challengers Maree also have a tough trip to Cork ahead so if the results go right this weekend for Mercy they could have a three game lead with three games to go.
DCU Mercy v Pyrobel Killester (Sunday, DCU, 2.30pm)
The current league leaders face off against the Cup Champions Killester in the game of the weekend. With four games to go Mercy have a two game lead over Maree and three game lead over Killester and Glanmire. If the title race is to open up for the last couple of weeks the chasing pack need Killester to win this weekend. In the first meeting between the teams Meredith Burkhall was outstanding with 28 points and 16 rebounds. Mercy were able to limit Killester’s influential American duo to just 24 combined points as DCU won out by 31 points. Killester haven’t lost since November though and are playing excellent basketball. They have a 6 game league winning run to add to their Cup run and they are considered by many the form team in the country at the moment. This will be a game of opposite styles as Killester’s three point shooting will go up against Mercy’s attack inside. It should be a great game and definitely one to watch this weekend.
Fr Mathews v Maree (Saturday, Fr Mathews Arena, 5pm)
Maree are the only team with a realistic chance of catching DCU Mercy at the top of the table. This weekend their own title challenge faces a major challenge as they head to Cork to face Fr Mathews. Last weekend Maree showed the quality and depth they dismantled a good WIT team. Nine of the team had six or more points last weekend which highlights the depth and balance they have available to them. Mathews will come into the game with a very different approach as their trio of Grainne Dwyer, Chantell Alford and Shannon Brady will have to carry the vast majority of the scoring load. This should be a fascinating match and one that could have a big impact on the title race.
Maxol WIT Wildcats v Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics (Saturday, Mercy Gym, 7pm)
Both teams come into this weekend’s game hurting after heavy defeats last weekend. Wildcats had their biggest loss of the season as they went down to Maree by 35 points. Liffey did better but still came up short against Glanmire down in Cork. Just two games separate the teams with four games to go in the league, if Liffey are going to find a way into the playoff spots they have to win this game. Wildcats won the first meeting between the teams with Jasmine Walker in dominant form (28 points) but with the return of Sorcha Tiernan and the introduction of a new American duo Liffey will be hopeful to reverse that score line this weekend.
Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Marble City Hawks (Sunday, Mardyke Arena, 2pm)
Marble City Hawks opportunities to pick up their first win of the season are running out and this weekend they have a tough task ahead of them as they head to Glanmire. Glanmire are likely too far back to catch DCU but they know each win helps with their playoff positioning. Last weekend they had a good win against Liffey Celtics with Shrita Parker scoring an incredible 38 points. Hawks will struggle to contain Parker but they will be encouraged by their performance last weekend as they lost out by just two points to Brunell. Glanmire won the first meeting by 12 and it’s hard to see past a home win this weekend.
IT Carlow v Singleton Supervalu Brunell (Saturday, Barrow Centre, 3.15pm)
IT Carlow welcome Brunell to the Barrow Centre on Saturday in what is a must win game for the Carlow side. With just four games remaining Carlow are two games behind Brunell and need a win if they are to have any chance of catching the Leesiders. Brunell come into the game on the back of a narrow win over Marble City Hawks. The loss of Katie Walsh before the cup final has limited the team significantly but they still have the fire power to deliver this weekend. Kaitlyn Slagus and Treyanna Clay will be a fascinating matchup to watch and whichever American comes out on top could deliver their team a big win.