Neptune celebrate jubilee with cup semis

Shane Whelan

The 2010 National Cup semi-finals take place this weekend at the famous Neptune Stadium in Cork, with an expected sell-out crowd set to be in attendance on Sunday.

The Neptune Stadium in Cork will host the SuperLeague National Cup semi-finals (men and women), while also being the venue which will play host to the Men's Senior Cup, Men's Under-20 Cup and Men's Under-18 National Cup semi-finals.

It is quite fitting that Neptune Stadium has been chosen to host these games as it is 25 years since the first National Cup final took place at the Cork venue.

Incidentally, it was Burgerland Neptune who claimed the cup on that occasion, beating Team Britvic Blue Demons on a dramatic scoreline of 92-91. The women's final of that year went to Meteors, who saw off the challenge of Naomh Mhuire 61-57.

On top of this, the Parochial Hall in Cork has been chosen as the venue to host the Women's Senior Cup, the Women's Under-20 Cup and the Women's Under-18 National Cup semi-finals.

Men's National Cup Semi-Finals

Killester v UCD Marian, Neptune Stadium, 2.30

Killester will be favourites given their cup pedigree and league standing at the top of the Northern Conference but their opponents on Sunday have already shocked Mark Keenan's side this season.

Unbeaten heading into November, Killester were expected to continue that run against UCD Marian but an inspired display from the likes of Daniel James and Luke McCrone saw the underdogs earn a famous 72-67 success.

Killester will be determined to atone for last season's cup final loss to UCC Demons, while UCD will be looking to improve on 2008, when they suffered defeat in the last four to Tralee Tigers.

Run to the semi-final

Killester: Quarter-final, beat UL Eagles 105-97

UCD/Marian: Quarter-final, beat Ulster Elks 87-81

Men's National Cup Semi-Finals

UCC Demons v Neptune, Neptune Stadium, 4.30

The meeting of UCC Demons and Neptune is a fitting semi final to celebrate 25 years since the opening of the Neptune Stadium. It is also 25 years since the two sides met in an enthralling National Cup final, which saw Neptune claim a dramatic 92-91 win.

Demons will be looking to make amends this time around but face a rejuvenated Neptune side who have suffered just one defeat in their last eight games in the Nivea For Men's Superleague.

The game should see Demons' new American recruit Tyrone Beale make his debut after the club's game with UCD Marian last weekend was postponed.

Neptune have their own deadly weapon in the shape of Juwann James, who is averaging a massive 35 points per game, the best average currently in the SuperLeague.

Run to the semi-final

UCC Demons: First round, beat DCU Saints 86-71;

Quarter-final, beat Belfast Star 99-81

Neptune: Quarter-final, beat Hoops 101-61

Women's National Cup Semi-Finals

Team Montenotte Hotel Cork v Meteors, Neptune Stadium, 10.30

Team Montenotte Hotel Cork are looking for a fourth successive National Cup title and come up against a side who are participating in their first National Cup semi-final since 2001.

Despite losing a number of key players, such as Michelle Fahy and Jennifer Strong, Montenotte are once again the team to beat under the watchful eye of Mark Scannell.

The Cork giants boast a 100pc record in the top flight, while Meteors currently occupy fifth spot in the IrishSport.TV Women's SuperLeague.

Run to the semi-final

Team Montenotte Hotel Cork: Bye into last four

Meteors: Quarter-final, beat Tolka Rovers 57-49

Women's National Cup Semi-Finals

UL V DCU Mercy, Neptune Stadium, 12.30

DCU Mercy will be hoping to go one stage further this season after losing out in heartbreaking circumstances last season.

The Dubliners endured the agony of a 78-77 double overtime loss to Team Montenotte Hotel Cork and face similar tough opposition in the shape of UL.

DCU have already accounted for UL this season in the league but they will be cautious of a side who have the talented duo of Michelle Aspell and Rachel Vanderwal in their ranks.

Mark Ingle's DCU side will be looking to the inspirational Lindsey Peat, who excelled for her country during last season's European Championships.

Run to the semi-final

UL: Quarter-final, beat Killester 72-56

DCU Mercy: Quarter-final, beat Bausch & Lomb Waterford Wildcats 86-29