Friday 24 November 2017

Basketball: Keenan taking nothing for granted in cup defence

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The Men's Superleague National Cup begins this weekend with holders Killester getting their defence under way tomorrow night at Moycullen.

Unbeaten in six league matches, the Dubliners make the trip high on confidence despite the loss of Paddy Kelly and Kieran O'Brien to injury. Victory over UCC Demons saw the northsiders lift the trophy in emphatic fashion last year and they have already beaten Moycullen this season.

The Galway men lost twice last weekend, but Killester head coach Mark Keenan isn't underestimating his opponents. "Moycullen will not be taken lightly even though they suffered two losses at the weekend," he said.

"League form goes out the window in cup competition. We played Moycullen in our first game of the season and I know they are a much improved side since then."

Demons await the winners from tomorrow night's other clash at the UL Arena, where the UL Eagles host Neptune. Top of the Southern Conference table with just one defeat from seven league games, the hosts are at full strength and coach Mark Bernson is hoping to build on their form.


However, given their only defeat came at the hands of the Cork side, they are well warned of the dangers the visitors pose.

"We will set aside the league action for a few days and concentrate on getting ready for the cup competition," Bernson said. "Our league form has been solid but now we must get ready for the cup. Already this season we have won and lost against Neptune and this is sure to be another great game."

Eagles' Welsh international Matt Hall is hoping that playing in front of their own fans has a positive affect.

"Having lost two weeks ago, we are well aware of the scoring threat they have with the likes of Michael Bonaparte, Ger Noonan and Phil Taylor," he said.

"Hopefully, home court advantage will prove vital, although I am sure it will be a very tough, intense game."

Elsewhere, DCU Saints welcome Martins Provizors and Eoin Quill back to the fold for their trip to face Belfast Star in the Superleague, while UCD Marian will look to take advantage of Killester's cup involvement by closing the gap at the top of the Northern Conference against Ulster Elks.

Irish Independent

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