The National Cup takes centre stage this weekend as the first legs of the men’s and women’s competitions get under way.
The stand-out game of the weekend is undoubtedly the mouthwatering clash between defending men’s cup champions C&S UCC Demons and league champions Killester.
Killester will have to plan without guard Mariano Gomez but Michael Westbrooks could feature.
Head coach Jonathan Grennell is adamant that his side have learned from previous defeats to Demons.
“We are confident about this weekend. We know it’s a challenge and they have established themselves as favourites but the losses we have suffered to them have made us home in more on what we need to do to beat them,” he said.
Last year’s beaten finalists Dublin Inter meet UL Eagles in a repeat of last season’s round one, and the Limerick side’s coach Paul Kelleher knows that they must handle the “step up in intensity.”
BFG Neptune and UCD meet for the second time in two weeks and the Cork outfit will be hoping for a repeat of their 98-81 win.
DCU Saints and Templeogue meet in a Dublin derby and the latter’s coach Mark Keenan is eager for his side to build on their recent league form, saying: “It’s a strange scenario that it’s only half-time at the end of the week. The approach is to take it as a one-off game.
“If we get a lead we have to push it out. There’ll be no resting.”
Belfast Star host Travelodge Swords Thunder in Sunday’s only game in the men’s competition with Ricky Taylor set for a cup debut for the home side.
Meanwhile, women’s National Cup holders Team Montenotte Hotel travel to local rivals Singleton Supervalu Brunell for the first leg of their quarter-final tomorrow.
The Glanmire side have already won at the Parochial Hall in the league this season, which head coach Mark Scannell sees as an advantage.
“I got a look at their new players. It’s nice to have a win in the bag too because that’s going to be in people’s minds,” he pointed out.
Killester will look to put their wretched league form behind them when they face off with Liffey Celtics. Killester remain without a league win this season.
DCU Mercy boast the league’s top two scorers in Sarah Woods and Caroline Stewart as they host Meteors, while UL Huskies are at home to Maxol WIT Wildcats. Huskies reached last year’s final but a much-changed side will take to the floor tomorrow.