Thursday 18 January 2018

Basketball: Kelleher stays grounded

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THEY missed out on the major trophies this season, but UCC Demons and DCU Saints have a chance to finish on a high in the Champions Trophy final tomorrow night.

This is the inaugural staging of this season finale as the traditional league play-offs were dispensed with and UL Eagles were handed the trophy for finishing top of the league.

UL fell at the hands of the Saints in the semi-finals last weekend, while Demons overcame bitter rivals Neptune to book their place in the National Basketball Arena this weekend.

The Cork side's coach, Paul Kelleher, has been keen to keep his side's routine as unchanged as possible this week.

"We have prepared as normal as we could," he said. "I am a big advocate for this new title. It is a nice competition as the teams had to work very hard to qualify for it.

"There is always an incentive to win a competition, but this one in particular really honours the team that kept fighting until the end of the season."

It's been fairly even between the teams this season, with UCC scraping a one-point win in October and DCU Saints claiming both meetings since the mid-point of the campaign.

It should be close again tomorrow evening, but the Corkmen may have just enough to edge it.

Having not changed their format, the women's league will be decided earlier tomorrow evening, with UL Huskies hot favourites to retain their crown against DCU Mercy.

But the Dubliners' coach Mark Ingle reckons that hard work and accuracy can see his side cause a shock in Tallaght.

"Obviously UL Huskies are the favourites to win, but we are raring to go and will fight to the end," he said. "We will need to make our shots in the Arena and spread out UL on the floor."

Irish Independent

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