Sunday 18 March 2018

Basketball: Keenan calls for focus as Killester bid to retain title

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Having been stung in the National Cup final, Killester are approaching Sunday's Superleague decider against Neptune with the utmost of care.

With the memory of their shock defeat to UCD Marian still fresh in the memory, the champions will be hoping to end the season on a high when they take on the Corkmen at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.

But the Leesiders will have little fear, having reached this stage for the first time since 2003. Their route to the final was a difficult one and, having beaten DCU Saints and UL Eagles away from home in the last two weeks, they will be ready to inflict another shock.

Killester coach Mark Keenan is warning against any complacency against a side he believes have plenty to offer.

"We must come on Sunday with the right mindset," he said. "Neptune have shown over the last three weeks just how good they are.


"They managed to beat Star in Belfast, DCU Saints in their quarter-final in Dublin, and then beat UL Eagles in Limerick on Saturday night in their semi-final. Beating UL on their home patch is a very difficult thing to do.

"I'm not surprised at all with these results because they have a very talented squad of players. Michael Bonaparte has been there before with ourselves and is a big-game player."

In the Women's Superleague final, Team Montenotte Cork are just a game away from retaining their title, but they face a tough task against an in-form UL side.

They might be making their first final appearance in four years, but UL coach James Weldon has built a strong squad around Britain's Rachel Vanderwal and former New Zealand Olympian Natalie Taylor.

They have overcome the blow of December's cup defeat to DCU Mercy and are now looking for silverware on Sunday.

"We have set ourselves certain targets and our main goal is to perform on Sunday and hopefully bring the trophy back to UL," Weldon said.

"We became a tighter group as a result of the cup defeat and it made the team hungrier for the title victory."

Irish Independent

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