The Men’s Super League will open it’s doors to Cork’s Tradehouse Central Balincollig after they clinched promotion to the top-tier of Men’s basketball for the first time in the club’s history. A win in front of a packed home-crowd over EJ Sligo All-Stars secured the National League title, adding to their National Cup triumph earlier in the year and allowing them to punch their ticket to the MSL 2020-21 campaign.
Ballincollig is a basketball-mad town driven by strong family roots and incredible players and their journey to the elite level of Irish basketball is nothing short of astounding. We profiled the team and its star Andre Nation before the National Cup semifinals.
In the Men’s Super League, Belfast Star showed their fire power when they matched up against Hula Hoops Pat Duffy Cup finalists DBS Eanna at home, powering past their opponents 81-59. The game was very much in the balance in the first half, DBS Eanna going into the break with a nine point advantage. However, Star really upped the ante in the second half, nothcing a fifty-five point performance to blow the visitors away. CJ Fulton was the star of the show, going 11 of 14 from the field on his way to 27 points, while Delaney Blaylock’s 19 capped off a stellar performance for Star who have won three on the bounce having dropped points to Moycullen at the start of the month.
DCU Saints were beyond impressive in their triumph over National Cup champions Griffith College Templeogue, emerging 89-79 winners on the back of the veteran, Michael Bonaparte’s 25 points. Templeogue struggled from the outset, finding themselves seven points behind going into the break. DCU Saints were impressive in controlling the game thereafter, and despite a 22-point showing from Lorcan Murphy the red and white side dropped their eighth game of the season.
This wasn’t the only notable loss by a team in the top half of the Men’s Super League this weekend.
After a hot start to the season, Coughlan’s CandS Neptune have struggled as of late. When Moycullen came to town, the Galway side were far and away the better side on the day, scoring in triple digits as they emerged 85-107 victors in Cork. The visitors were only up by a point going into the break, but a combined 52 points from Conor Curran and Grant Olsen proved too much for Lehmon Colbert’s side, making it three games without a win for Neptune.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors were impressive in their local derby victory over Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin, Pat Price’s team emerging 81-63 victors having been level at the break. Colin O’Reilly and Allan Thomas’ 20-point showings failed to phase a red-hot Warriors team, Daniel Jokubaitis leading the scoring for the hosts with 21 on the night.
UCD Marian stay in third position with a routine 53-75 win against Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, while Pyrobel Killester robbed an 81-84 win at the death away to Maree.
In the Women's Super League, Maree continued their fine form in the Women’s Super League, notching their sixth straight victory with a final score of 94-85 at home to Pyrobel Killester. It took an overtime period to separate the two sides, but the hot hand of Dayna Finn proved to be the difference between the two teams, the young guard pouring in 33 points in the encounter. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the fourth, both sides were knotted up at 78 apiece. However, led by Finn, the Galway side pulled away after a couple of quick baskets to start the extra period. Adella Randel El was most impressive for the visiting side, but the Hula Hoops Paudie O’Connor Cup finalists came up short in the end.
DCU Mercy sealed a hard-fought victory when they came up against Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell in the solitary Super League fixture on Sunday. Brunell had the upper-hand, entering the halftime break a point to the good. The sides were neck and neck throughout the third quarter also, with Brunell putting DCU under tremendous pressure to snatch a victory away from home. With the game – and security of the Super Leagu title- hanging in the balance, it was DCU who pulled away as the final period wound on, snatching victory by a slender margin of eight-points in a 74-82 win which keeps them two wins ahead of title-chasers, Maree.
Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics managed to move to eight wins on the season when they took victory from a low-scoring affair in Cork, defeating Fr Mathews 50-54. The teams were locked at 28 points each at the interval, but neither side could put much together in the way of scoring in the second half, Mathews shooting just 29% from the field. Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman was tremendous for the visiting side, chipping in with 21 points for the Dublin outfit. Sorcha Tiernan was also impressive for Liffey, coming up with some important scores when her team went down in the fourth while tallying 14 points for the evening.
Elsewhere in the Women’s Super League, Ambassador UCC Glanmire continued their fine run of form in taking down Maxol WIT Wildcats 64-72 in Waterford. The result makes it three wins on the spin, with Mark Scannell’s charges bouncing back from their last loss to rivals Fr Mathews at the start of the month. Shrita Parker continued to impress for the visitors, the Virginia native walking off the court with 31 points, having had 29 and 38 respectively in her last two games. Jasmine Walker was impressive for the home side, but having gone into half time down by six points, the Waterford side failed to diminish the deficit as the game wore on.
IT Carlow notched their second win of the campaign on the road when they made the short trip to Kilkenny to face Marble City Hawks. Martin Conroy’s team walked away comfortable 53-81 victors, Kaitlyn Slagus doing the lion’s share of the scoring with 35 points in the game.