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Basketball: Keenan sizes up 'massive' task as Eagles aim to land place in final

IF UL Eagles win the double, they will have done it the hard way. A week after beating Killester in Clontarf, Mark Keenan's side head south to face UCC Demons at the Mardyke searching for a place in the Men's SuperLeague final.

This clash is a replay of the National Cup final in which the Limerick side came out on top, but here the Demons are on home soil and thirsty for another crack at silverware next week.

Keenan says his charges face a "massive" job in taking on the Cork side on their own patch.

"Having overcome Killester in Dublin, we face another massive task in taking on UCC Demons on their home turf," he said.

"We know how difficult it is to come away from Cork with a victory, so we will need to be at our best to win. Demons have been playing really well and possess great experience and fire-power. I expect nothing other than a tight and fiercely competitive game."

Both sides have major injury worries, with Niall Murphy ruled out for Demons, while Matt Hall is a doubt for Eagles.

The Leesiders already avenged their cup defeat when the sides met three weeks ago, but the stakes will be higher this time around.

tenacity

"UL Eagles have upped their level in recent weeks and having taken in their game against Killester, very few teams would have lived with them the way they played," said Demons coach Paul Kelleher.

"Their tenacity and intensity was impressive and we'll have to match their aggression. We've come off an incredible few weeks with three double-headers and hopefully this amount of games has made us sharp."

DCU Saints take on UCD Marian in the other semi-final on Sunday after the southsiders' shock defeat of Neptune last weekend.

Marian belied a run of six straight defeats in the league to record a famous win at the Neptune Stadium and they will require similar heroics if they are to overcome DCU Saints, according to their head coach Fran Ryan.

"It is probably the toughest game one could get," he said.

In the Women's SuperLeague semi-finals, unbeaten UL host Waterford Wildcats tomorrow and Glanmire host DCU Mercy on Sunday.

Tomorrow

Women's SuperLeague semi-finals: UL v Waterford Wildcats, UL Arena, 3.0 .

Sunday

Men's SuperLeague semi-finals: UCC Demons v UL Eagles, Mardyke Arena, 3.15; DCU Saints v UCD Marian, DCU, 3.30.

Women's SuperLeague semi-finals: Glanmire v DCU Mercy, Neptune Stadium, 3.0.

Irish Independent