Basketball: Killester wary of UL backlash as conference leaders clash
A mouth-watering clash of the SuperLeague conference leaders takes place tomorrow as UL Eagles travel to Dublin to take on Killester.
Unbeaten thus far, the northsiders face their stiffest test against the Limerick side who have lost just once this season. Taking last season as a form guide, however, the Dubliners have little reason to worry, having beaten the Eagles twice in the regular season, ended their cup interest and won out in March's league final.
Killester go into the clash without three key players. Paddy Kelly (broken collarbone) and Eric Westbrooks (foot) are injured, while work commitments rule out Kieran O'Brien.
And coach Mark Keenan believes the men from the Treaty City are a much better outfit than the one they whitewashed last season.
"In light of last year's results between us, we will be big targets for them," he said. "We will need to be in top form. UL are much stronger this year. They've made their intentions very clear with their signings in the off-season. Mark Bernsen has assembled a great squad."
On top of their improvements, Bernsen's men make the journey with a clean bill of health, hoping to right last year's record in Clontarf.
Neptune will look to bounce back from last week's cup defeat to the Eagles with victory over UCD Marian in Cork. The Dubliners travel south without Paddy Young and Conor James, and Barry Glover and Dan James are doubts.
Their record against the Cork side is not one to be drawing inspiration from and coach Fran Ryan believes his side's opponents are a massive threat, particularly in Michael Bonaparte.
"Neptune with Bonaparte are a different team and any team that beat UL in the league will be very tough," Ryan said. "It's a while since we had a win over Neptune so they will be optimistic about winning, plus it is in their own court where they are a 20pc better team."
Meanwhile, Belfast Star host struggling Moycullen, while DCU Saints will look to improve their form against Ulster Elks.
In the Women's SuperLeague, the clash of the weekend sees Team Montenotte, Cork host a UL team their coach, Mark Scannell, describes as "the team to beat this season" on Sunday.
Elsewhere, DCU Mercy travel to Waterford Wildcats and Killester face Dynamos.