NEPTUNE coach Mark Scannell has called on his players to produce a display that will earn a National Cup final spot in tonight's all-Cork semi-final with UCC Demons.
Second and third in the league, there is little between the Leeside rivals who are expected to sell-out Neptune Stadium for a double header which sees holders UL Eagles take on UCD Marian later on.
The teams met two weeks ago, with UCC Demons squeezing through by two points at home, and tonight's affair should be just as close.
Scannell believes his players have not achieved all they could in recent years and called on them to deliver a show.
"They really haven't got their due rewards I think for the effort they have put in over the last couple of years," he said.
"We try to treat it as another game. Obviously because it's a cup semi-final and local derby there is more focus on it from the public but we are just trying to prepare as normal."
Scannell's opposite number Paul Kelleher believes that this will be a tight affair between two evenly matched sides.
"There is nothing between the teams. They have serious length in their frontline which will be a real challenge for us," he said.
"We don't have the best athletes in the world but they are smart basketball players. We know if it is close and we are in it at the end that we will do the right thing, and give ourselves a chance to win."
Meanwhile, Marian head coach Fran Ryan wants his struggling players to echo the spirit of their against-all-odds cup win in 2011 by beating the holders in Cork. He is sweating on the fitness of guard Dan James, who is struggling with an ankle injury.
"This situation is not unlike that cup final two years ago," said Ryan, who welcomes new American import Thomas Vigilanco into his squad.
"We have a group of players that are very tight and give great effort always."
The Women's SuperLeague National Cup finals take place tomorrow, with holders UL Huskies looking to book their place against WIT Wildcats and Glanmire taking on DCU Mercy on home soil.
Having lost their long winning streak, Huskies coach James Weldon is hoping the pressure is off his players.
"A lot of people were talking about the streak and it was pressure to keep it going. Hopefully now we can just focus on playing basketball and trying to win each game as it comes," he said.
Neptune Stadium – Men's Superleague Cup semi-finals: Neptune v Demons, 7.0; Eagles v Marian, 9.0
U-18 Men's National Cup semi-finals: Neptune v Moycullen, 10.0; St Vincent's v Belfast Star, 12.0
Men's National Cup semi-finals: Team Garvey's St Mary's v Killester, 2.0; Blue Demons v St Brendan's, 4.0.
Women's SuperLeague National Cup semi-finals: UL Huskies v WIT Wildcats, 6.0; DCU Mercy v Team Montenotte, 8.0
Parochial Hall – U-18 Women's National Cup semi-finals: Brunell v Oblate Dynamos, 10.0; DCU Mercy (Dublin) v Glanmire (Cork), 12.0
Women's National Cup semi-finals: NUIG Mystics v Oblate Dynamos, 2.0; Tralee Imp' v Tom McCarthy's St Mary's, 4.0
Neptune Stadium – U-20 Men's National Cup semi-finals: Belfast Star v Killester, 10.30; Templeogue Azzurri v Ballincollig, 12.30
Parochial Hall – U-20 Women's National Cup semi-finals: Meteors v Brunell, 10.30; DCU Mercy v Killester, 12.30.