Wednesday 17 January 2018

Basketball: High-flying Marian pose real threat to Killester's 100pc record

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

UCD MARIAN are the latest side charged with breaking Killester's 100pc record as they cross the Liffey for tomorrow night's Dublin derby.

They do so buoyed by back-to-back victories over DCU Saints that see them in top form going into the Clontarf clash. But the northern conference leaders have been bolstered by the return of Kieran O'Brien, who has missed the last three weeks through work commitments.

Although they have yet to slip up this campaign, Killester coach Mark Keenan is refusing to take the students for granted -- though a win would extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points.

"UCD are a team coming off some great wins so confidence will be high," Keenan said. "We need to get a good week's training behind us as weather affected us last week. We will need to be very sharp to beat UCD."

Despite his side's good form, Marian coach Fran Ryan is extremely wary of the talented Killester side.

"They are now the benchmark for all the teams and are on a great unbeaten run," he said. "They have been winning games with a margin to spare, so it's hard to get a grip on how much they are ahead of the rest of us.


"Mark Keenan has a terrifically well-drilled group of talented players. Isaac Westbrook's addition makes them a stronger team than last season and we must remember they have been winning even though they are without the best player in the SuperLeague, Paddy Kelly."

UCC Demons have a chance to redeem themselves after losing out to UL Eagles in the National Cup last weekend, as they head back to Limerick for a second bite at the cherry. They do so weakened by the loss of Shane Coughlan, who will be sidelined for six weeks with a broken finger, and coach Paul Kelleher knows what a tough task his side faces.

"This is going to be another battle against Limerick," he said. "We got dominated last week on the physical end and we will have to match that this weekend if we are to have any chance of being successful. The task will be even more difficult without our captain, Shane Coughlan."

Ulster Elks will hope to build on their historic victory over Belfast Star last week by beating them again in the league tomorrow night, while DCU Saints face a tough trip to play Neptune.

In the Women's SuperLeague Dynamos face DCU Mercy in a Dublin derby, while Killester host UL in Clontarf as a curtain-raiser to the men's match.

Irish Independent

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