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Monday 11 December 2017

Basketball: Price calls on Neptune to raise game for derby clash

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE battle for second in the Superleague South Conference continues tomorrow night as Neptune look to leapfrog visitors UCC Demons.

The Cork derby is always an intriguing clash, but as the season nears its business end there is plenty hinging on the result. Demons are three points clear of their rivals and can open up a healthy lead in the race for a home play-off clash.

But the hosts are not giving up the ghost, and coach Pat Price is relishing the challenge of bouncing back from last week's heavy defeat to UL Eagles.

"We are excited about being on our home floor against Demons," he said. "We will need to play with much more energy, enthusiasm and urgency this weekend in order to keep up with the favourites. We have to demand more from ourselves, and we have to give nothing less than 100pc."

Demons will be adversely affected by injuries to Danny Mahony, Niall Murphy and Daniel O'Sullivan after beating Belfast Star last weekend, but coach Paul Kelleher believes Neptune's defence will present challenges.

"Neptune have been building up some momentum since the last derby game and have been keeping teams below their average scoring because of their defence, so we know we will have to be patient on the offensive end," he said.

"We will need to overcome this and focus on the task at hand as a win would secure home court advantage for the play-offs."

Cup winners UCD Marian will look to get back to winning ways after Killester and DCU Saints brought them back to earth with a bang last weekend. They travel north to face a Belfast Star side who are in the play-off hunt.

UCD coach Fran Ryan knows this clash will go a long way to determining his side's league success. Conor Meany and Neil Baynes are doubts, while Paddy Young is out with an ankle injury.

Elsewhere, Killester face Ulster Elks, while DCU Saints take on Moycullen on Sunday.

In the Women's Superleague, Team Montenotte Hotel visit UL without the influential Marie Breen while Killester travel to Dynamos. DCU Mercy host Waterford Wildcats on Sunday.

Irish Independent

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