A huge weekend of games is in store across the Women’s and Men’s Super Leagues this weekend, with some extremely interesting match ups across the two leagues ensuring that this round of fixtures could well prove to be crucial.
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League
Marble City Hawks v Ambassador UCC Glanmire, (Saturday, O Loughlins GAA, 17:00)
Glanmire have already recorded a big win this week as they defeated Brunell mid-week in a Cork derby. Shrita Parker bagged 30 points and has settled well into the league. They take to the road this week to face bottom of the table Marble City Hawks. Hawks come into the game after a heavy defeat in the battle of the bottom teams last weekend. They lost by 27 points to IT Carlow Basketball scoring just 41 points. With their lack of scoring this season they are definitely in a battle to avoid the drop and welcoming an in-form Glanmire team wouldn’t be high on their list of opponents they could have asked for this weekend. All signs point to a Glanmire win, unless Hawks can find some more scoring from somewhere.
Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics v Maxol WIT Wildcats (Saturday, Leixlip Amenities Centre, 19:00)
Liffey Celtics welcome Wildcats to Leixlip in what is set to be an interesting battle as both teams have been rocked with injuries and losses in recent weeks. Glanmire got the better of Wildcats last weekend, while Fr Mathews came to Leixlip and beat the defending champions. Liffey have a losing record at home this season (2-3) and they cannot afford to drop many more games if they are going to stay with the chasing pack. Worryingly they have scored just 56 points per game at home since Sorcha Tiernan went out injured, they will have to find a way to get a higher return this weekend against a tough Wildcats team. Wildcats are on a two game losing streak themselves and have been without the services of Cathy Kavanagh for both losses. They also sit at 3-3 on the table. For a team who pushed DCU on the road only a couple of weeks ago they need to find wins soon to keep the pressure on the top teams.
Pyrobel Killester v DCU Mercy, (Saturday, IWA Clontarf, 19:30)
One of the standout fixtures of the weekend sees the meeting of Dublin neighbours Killester and DCU Mercy. The IWA hasn’t been a friendly venue for Mercy over the last two seasons and the league leaders will be challenged by a strong Killester team this weekend. Killester had a close win over Maree in Dublin last weekend and despite the lack of squad depth, their American duo of Reed and Randle El are causing major issues for opponents. In Mercy, Killester face their toughest opponent to date. Mercy have been able to remain undefeated with a combination of size, depth and scoring ability. Killester like the big challenges at home and this has all the potential for the game of the weekend and having kept a clean sheet at home against Mercy for the past two seasons, they’ll be confident they can do so again.
Maree v Fr Mathews (Sunday, Calasanctius College-Galway, 14:30)
With Mercy undefeated, neither Maree or Fr. Mathews can really afford to drop a third game. Both teams sit tied in second place with 4-2 records. Maree come in off a tough loss on the road to Killester but they will be hoping home comforts help them against the experienced Mathews team. Both teams have formidable size and physicality inside and that’s likely where the battle will be won. Claire Rockall and Chantell Alford are former teammates and both can score from the perimeter too. This has the makings of a classic in Galway and could be a big confidence boost for whoever survives the battle.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell v IT Carlow Basketball (Sunday, Parochial Hall, 14:45)
Brunell came up just short mid week against an in form Glanmire team as they lost out at home by 18. Treyanna Clay shot well scoring 21 points, but Brunell’s defense couldn’t keep Glanmire at bay. This week, IT Carlow come into Cork on the back of their first win of the season. Carlow’s Americans scored well last weekend but it was their team defense that won the game as they limited MC Hawks to just 41 points. Despite the teams having the same record, Brunell will have higher expectations this season and will be hoping for another win to boost their season. Ultimately though the league table tells a story, and a loss at home this weekend could see Brunell very much part of the relegation battle.
Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League
Belfast Star v Abbey Seals Dublin Lions (Saturday, De La Salle, 18:30)
Belfast have yet to drop a game at home this season and they will be expecting to beat a Dublin Lions team who have yet to win since joining the Super League for the first time this year. Belfast have rebounded well from the loss of their American in large part due to the performance of their replacement pro Ben Marello. Marello is the current leading scorer in the league on 26 ppg and he has fit in seamlessly into the Star team. The main worry coming into the weekend will be the health of big man Keelan Cairns who missed their road win over DBS Eanna last weekend. For Lions, Coach Rob White will have been happy with a lot of their performance against UCD Marian as they were leading at the break and in contention for the majority of the game. Again experience cost them down the stretch, but that first win is coming on the horizon. Whether or not it will be this weekend is the big question.
UCD Marian v DBS Eanna, (Saturday, UCD, 19:00)
UCD Marian look to defend their home court for the second week in a row as they welcome neighbours DBS Eanna. UCD have an excellent record in UCD in recent years and haven’t lost there yet this season. Last week’s performance against Lions wasn’t vintage UCD Marian, but they managed to pull out an important win. This week, they get challenged by a much stronger team in DBS Eanna. Eanna have stuttered in recent weeks but remain at the top end of the table due to their great start. Stefan Zecevic will be a tough matchup for UCD and Eanna will feel they have multiple options to slow down Mike Garrow. Whichever team gets more scoring outside of their top two options could decide this one.
Keanes Supervalu Killorglin v Pyrobel Killester (Saturday, Killorglin Sports Centre, 19:15)
Killorglin come into this game on the back of a huge derby win last weekend over Tralee. Despite a slow start, Killorglin are now only a game behind the league leaders. With recent wins over Star and Tralee, their performances - particularly at home - are improving and they will be hoping to push the in-form team in the country Killester this weekend. Killester have added two new players in recent weeks and the added depth and options has showed as they have won their last couple of games. Mintautus Bulanovas in particular is a dangerous weapon for Killester and has assumed the role of top scorer since his arrival. Both teams are capable of playing physical defense and it may be which team are able to maintain their discipline that could decide this game. Killester struggled in this venue last season and will be hoping to make amends for it this year.
Maree v Garvey’s Tralee Warriors (Saturday, Calsanctius College, 19:30)
Tralee had looked to be in ominously dangerous form until they were upended by Killorglin last weekend. A slow start and a lack of discipline defensively cost them as they lost to their local rivals. Giving up 36 free throws will be a challenge to overcome in any game and Pat Price’s team will have to find a way to reduce their foul count this weekend. Maree lost out last weekend on the road to Killester despite pushing them for the first half. Maree are often a different animal – especially at home - as Templeogue can attest to and this could be a tough physical battle although Warriors should have the weapons to prevail.
DCU Saints v Coughlan CandS Neptune (Saturday, DCU, 19:30)
The absence of big man Martins Provizors cost DCU last weekend in their loss to Templeogue. They will need the big man to match up with Lehmon Colbert this weekend if DCU are going to be able to win. Neptune at 5-2 are still at the top of the table but games like this will ultimately determine whether or not they will be in the title race. For Neptune, this weekend this is an ideal opportunity to get their back court of Kyle Hosford and Roy Downey going against a Vincent’s team that has struggled to contain scoring guards. Bonaparte provides an athletic challenge for Neptune, but Vincent’s need to find support for him and will be hoping Charlie Coombes can help with his outside shooting if they are going to get an important win to keep them above .500.
Moycullen v Griffith College Templeogue (Saturday, NUIG, 19:30)
On paper, Templeogue have too much for Moycullen this weekend. At the same time the same was said both when Moycullen went to Dublin and upset Killester and when Templeogue went to Galway and were upset by Maree. The health of Lorcan Murphy remains a worry for Templeogue as he has missed the last two games. Jason Killeen had his best game last weekend and his size should cause major problems for Moycullen who don’t have much physicality on the inside. Moycullen are capable of getting hot and they’ll need to do it this weekend if they are going to push Templeogue.