Friday 15 December 2017

Basketball: Trimmer returns to boost high-flying Saints

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE battle behind runaway leaders Killester hots up in the Northern Conference of the Men's Superleague this weekend as northside meets southside in a university challenge.

Third placed DCU Saints cross the Liffey to face second placed UCD Marian at Belfield tomorrow hoping to leapfrog the southsiders.

Victory for Marian would see them close the gap on Killester, but their opponents come into the game in flying form.

Four wins in a row means confidence is running high in Glasnevin and the return of Mike Trimmer will bolster the DCU ranks for the clash. Star player Emmet Donnelly wants his side to maintain their winning run tomorrow and then take it into Sunday when they face Belfast Star in their second game of the weekend.

"We're looking to keep the momentum going and take points off our rivals," he said. "Our performances have been pretty good of late, but we still feel we haven't hit top gear just yet."

UCD coach Fran Ryan wants his charges to lift their game considerably after slipping to defeat against Neptune in Cork last weekend.

"It was an unacceptable performance at the weekend and our level of performance on the road is of concern," said Ryan, who welcomes Barry Glover back to his squad.

"The variance in the standard we achieve is too great. Our major challenge currently is to solve this week-to-week swing in performance. Saints are very impressive to date and look like probable contenders with their balance of height and speed, allied to a deep bench."

The economic climate has hit UCC Demons for six as they begin life without Niall O'Reilly, who has emigrated to Australia. They host Killester at the Mardyke on Sunday with the Dubliners looking to continue their unbeaten run.

Neptune travel to Moycullen hoping to inflict more woe on the struggling Galwaymen and build on last week's win over UCD. Southern conference leaders UL Eagles will look to bounce back from last week's defeat to Killester in Belfast as they face the Ulster Elks.

Unbeaten Montenotte take on Meteors in the Women's Superleague, while UL introduce a new face to the league with New Zealand Olympian Natalie Taylor bolstering their ranks for the visit of Waterford Wildcats. Meanwhile, there's a northside derby in Dublin where Killester take on DCU Mercy.

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