PREVIEW: We look ahead to this weekend's games
October 04, 2018
Big clashes in store as Women’s Super League gets underway while Warriors face Demons in Cork
This coming weekend marks the start of the Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League and Women’s Division One, with games tipping off across the country.
Newly promoted Fr Mathews will be ready for their first game in the top flight, as they mark the opening of the new Fr Mathews Arena with a clash against Galway’s NUIG Mystics. They are looking forward to getting their Super League season underway, with a strengthened squad that includes former Glanmire star, Grainne Dwyer (who now rejoins sister Niamh on the court), Chantell Alford and Shannon Brady.
“This is a new experience for the club and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said head coach, James Fleming. “Hopefully with the squad we have assembled, we will be competitive. NUIG will be tough, but we’ve prepared well and hopefully we’ll give our supporters a performance.
“It’s great to have the game at the new venue for the club. The official opening on Saturday is a great occasion for the club and the hard work put in by Diarmuid [Nolan} and the lads.”
Up the road, Mark Scannell has taken back up his role at the helm of Ambassador UCC Glanmire and is preparing for a Sunday afternoon clash against newly promoted Marble City Hawks in Cork.
“I’m looking forward to game one of the season, we’ve a very young team and it will be a great experience for them,” he said. “Kilkenny did well last year and have good Americans so we’ll need to be focused. There’s a good spirit in the squad so hopefully that will get us a good start and our Americans are settling in well so we’ll see where it takes us.”
Also looking ahead to the game, Hawks' head coach Julian O'Keeffe stated: “We’re really looking forward to the challenge of the Super League, where we’ll be playing against the best players and coaches in Ireland. This weekend is a massive challenge for us to open our season against a top class side like last year’s Super League champions, Glanmire. It will be a very hard game but one we are looking forward to.”
In Dublin meanwhile, Pyrobel Killester will host Singleton SuperValu Brunell at the IWA in Clontarf as part of a double header with their men’s team. Looking ahead to the clash, head coach, Karl Kilbride stated: “We’re really excited for Saturday. It’s been a long and really productive pre-season, we can’t wait to play a proper, meaningful game.
"Brunell are a bit of an unknown, with a new coach and we haven't seen them play yet. Being the first game of the season, I’d imagine it’ll be a bit sloppy and it could come down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes defensively. It’s a really difficult game, but one we’re very much looking forward to.”
Elsewhere, reigning league champions, Courtyard Liffey Celtics will welcome Maxol WIT Wildcats to the Amenities Centre in Leixlip, while Cup champions DCU Mercy will host IT Carlow Basketball at the University on Sunday afternoon.
Over in the Men’s Super League meanwhile, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors are hoping that they can bounce back strong after a three-point loss to neighbours Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin in the opening game of the season last weekend. They will travel to Cork on Friday evening to face UCC Demons, who are coming into the game off the back of a 12-point win over C and S Neptune last weekend.
Looking ahead to the challenge, Warriors’ head coach, Pat Price stated: “We’re looking for a stronger performance on both ends of the floor this Friday night. At this point of the season, it’s all about improvement. Demons have a strong, balanced starting five and we’ll need to value every possession.”
In the IWA in Clontarf meanwhile a repeat of last year’s Super League play-off final is in store as Pyrobel Killester host reigning league champions UCD Marian.
“It's going to be tough obviously,” stated Killester’s Brian O’Malley. “They're a really good team, well coached and a proven outfit. I don't think last year’s game has any real impact on this game, they've added a good few faces so it’s a different dynamic. We're just going to concentrate on improving from last week and trying to execute to our strengths as best we can.”
Up in Belfast meanwhile, Belfast Star and Griffith Swords Thunder will each be hoping to get their first win of the season, after losses to Templeogue and Killester respectively last weekend.
Looking ahead to the game, Star head coach, Adrian Fulton stated: “Against Templeogue, we went away from sharing the ball, we over dribbled and weren’t patient enough to wait for good scoring opportunities. Credit to Templeogue, they were excellent, but we have to be better if we are going to win games at this level.
“We were missing players, but our performance is below the standards we have set for ourselves. The lads have reacted well in practice this week and I hope we can bounce back. It doesn’t get any easier though. Swords are another highly talented side and in Isaac Westbrooks, they have a really top class point guard who runs his team extremely well.”
Elsewhere, DCU Saints will host C and S Neptune with both teams looking for their first win of the season, Maree will welcome Templeogue to Oranmore while Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin will host Moycullen in their first Super League home game of the season.
Killarney is the place to be for Men's Division One basketball this weekend meanwhile, as Scotts Lakers St Paul’s Killarney host Tradehouse Central Ballincollig in a top of the table clash in Kerry.
Both sides come into the game undefeated, with five wins from five games each, and Killarney head coach, Cormac O’Donoghue, knows that this weekend is set to be their biggest test to date.
“We know we have a huge challenge ahead of us Saturday night and while it is too early in the year to call it a season defining game, it is huge in terms of giving us a really good indication of where we are as a team,” he reflected.
“It is imperative that we get our match ups right and we execute our game plan correctly. I know the make up of both teams have changed considerably from last year, but we were some way behind Ballincollig as a team last season so it will be interesting to see how much of that gap we have closed.”
UL Sports Eagles meanwhile will be hoping that they can get their second win on the board when they host IT Carlow Basketball at UL this weekend as part of a double header with their Women’s Division One team.
Looking ahead to the clash, Eagles’ head coach Matthew Hall said: “It was great to get a win last weekend and nothing short of what the boys deserve for all of the work they’ve put in to date. Hopefully we can get a good few wins now, we’ve a tough game again against Carlow this Saturday, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Elsewhere, there are two big Dublin derbies as Abbey Seals Dublin Lions welcome Bad Bobs Tolka Rovers in what is set to be a fast-paced and hugely entertaining game, while KUBS host DBS Éanna at Greendale.
Ulster University Elks will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they face Ej Sligo All Stars, LYIT Donegal welcome Gamefootage.net Titans, WIT Vikings go head-to-head with Portlaoise Panthers while Fr Mathews welcome LIT to the new Arena in Cork.
Moving to the Women’s Division One and there will be a host of new teams in action around the country this weekend, with Kerry’s St Mary’s Castleisland hoping to make their mark on the Division when they travel to Portlaoise this weekend.
“We are obviously delighted to be competing at this level again for the first time in four years,” admitted head coach, Liam Culloty. “We know we are in for a really tough game playing away to Portlaoise who were competing in the Super League last season, but we are all looking forward to it. The standard of the league is really high this year with lots of talent on show, so we are really excited to get started this weekend.”
Maree have also added a Women’s Division One team, and are boosted with the addition of former Glanmire star Claire Rockall, while Dayna Finn, Maggie Byrne and Alison Blaney also return to the fold from NUIG Mystics. They travel to Griffith College Swords Thunder in Dublin this weekend for their first game.
“We’re looking forward to the season opener against Swords with a mixture of nerves and excitement,” admitted head coach, Joe Shields. “I’m delighted to have such a talented bunch of players and am looking forward to the season ahead.”
A big derby will mark Phoenix Rockets’ return to National League action meanwhile, as they travel across town to Ulster University Elks, while Limerick will also be home to a derby as the experienced UL Huskies host newcomers Limerick Celtics at the University on Saturday, while the last fixture of the weekend will see Trinity Meteors welcome Fabplus North West.
Basketball Ireland Fixtures: October 5th to 7th
Friday, 5th October 2018
Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League:
UCC Demons v Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, Mardyke Arena, 20:00;
Saturday, 6th October 2018
Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League:
Belfast Star v Griffith College Swords Thunder, De La Salle, 18:30;
DCU Saints v C and S Neptune, DCU Complex, 19:00;
Pyrobel Killester v UCD Marian, IWA-Clontarf, 19:00;
Maree v Templeogue, Calasanctius College, Galway, 19:00;
Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin v Moycullen, Killorglin Sports Centre, 19:15;
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League:
Pyrobel Killester v Singleton SuperValu Brunell, IWA-Clontarf, 17:00;
Fr Mathews v NUIG Mystics, Fr Mathews Arena, 17:00;
Courtyard Liffey Celtics v Maxol WIT Wildcats, Leixlip Amenities Centre, 19:00;
Basketball Ireland Men’s Division One:
Ulster University Elks v EJ Sligo All-Stars, Ulster University Elks, 15:00;
LYIT Donegal v GameFootage.net Titans, Foyle Arena-Derry, 15:00;
Abbey Seals Dublin Lions v Bad Bobs Tolka Rovers, Colaiste Bride, 18:30;
WIT Vikings v Portlaoise Panthers, Waterford IT, 19:00;
UL Sports Eagles v IT Carlow Basketball, PESS Building-UL, 19:30;
Scotts Lakers St Pauls Killarney v Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, Killarney Sports Centre, 19:30;
Fr Mathews v LIT, Fr Mathews Arena, 19:45;
KUBS BC v DBS Éanna, Greendale, 20:00;
Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One:
Ulster University Elks v Phoenix Rockets, Ulster University Elks, 17:00;
UL Huskies v Limerick Celtics, UL Arena-Limerick, 17:00;
Griffith College Swords Thunder v Maree, ALSAA-Dublin, 17:30;
Trinity Meteors v Fabplus North West, TCD, 17:30;
Portlaoise Panthers v St Mary’s Castleisland, St Mary’s Sports Hall, 19:30;
Sunday 7th October 2018
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League:
Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Marble City Hawks, Mardyke Arena, 13:30;
DCU Mercy v IT Carlow Basketball, DCU Complex, 14:00;