Tuesday 24 April 2018

Basketball: UCD praying for play-off miracle

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

UCD MARIAN's historic Superleague National Cup win gave the students a high at the time, but the subsequent hangover means they go into the final weekend hoping for a miracle to reach the league play-offs.

It's somewhat understandable that the southsiders, who won the competition for the first time in their history, fell asleep at the wheel in the aftermath -- on their return to league action, they lost four games in five and handed the advantage to Belfast Star.

The Ulstermen now look destined to join Killester and DCU Saints in the play-offs, with UCD needing to beat Killester and hope Star lose to both Neptune and Ulster Elks this weekend.

"Our potential to beat Killester depends on the reaction to having the 10 days off and I simply don't know what that will be," said UCD coach Fran Ryan.

"Belfast Star getting two wins in Killester is the unexpected factor in the season, and great credit to them in that achievement. In Belfield we have a real chance of winning if we can bring a performance close to the top end of the players' ability."

Star are confident they can do enough to get through, but the Neptune side they face tomorrow are themselves chasing second spot in the southern conference.

The Cork side will then take on Saints on Sunday and coach Pat Price believes the double header will stand them in good stead going into the play-offs

"We have two huge challenges on the road in Belfast Star and DCU Saints, both of whom are play-off teams," he said. "It will be great preparation for the following weekend, although two games in less than 24 hours is not ideal."

Elsewhere, UCC Demons face Moycullen tomorrow and UL Eagles on Sunday in a tough weekend, while in the Women's Superleague, Dynamos face UL.

Irish Independent

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