Tuesday 16 January 2018

Keenan desperate to exorcise Demons and earn redemption

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

KILLESTER head coach Mark Keenan wants his side to use the painful memory of last year's final defeat as they take on the UCC Demons in the SuperLeague Cup decider in the National Basketball arena in Tallaght tomorrow.

After coming through semi-finals against UCD Marian and Neptune respectively, Killester and the UCC Demons is the final the neutrals would have wanted to see at the beginning of this season.

The Demons beat the Dubliners to complete a clean sweep of silverware last season and Killester coach Keenan has admitted that the memory of the defeat 12 months ago will be to the forefront of their minds when they take to the court tomorrow.

"It's a big motivational factor for the guys," said Keenan. "The disappointment of last year is still there; we really want to get this game.

"I will be looking to my experienced guys," added Keenan. "Paddy Kelly, who has recovered well, and Pete Madsen are two of the guys who have been around for a while. Damien Sealy is also experienced in the big games. Jermaine Turner has been outstanding."

Although the Demons can have only one of their two American players on the court at any one time, Keenan accepts that their ability to rotate them will give the reigning champions a huge advantage.

"There is no doubt about the Demons' quality. Shane Coughlan showed his experience against Neptune in the semi-final. The fact that they are going to be able to rotate two American players might be a problem.

"Obviously for us, foul trouble and fatigue will be a factor. The good thing is that they can only have one USA player on the court at a time, but they can rotate them. Joshua Johnson has been quite consistent in his performances and he is a good rebounder."

Demons head coach Luke D'Alessio was full of praise for tomorrow's opponents, and warned his side against complacency despite recording an 82-71 win in a cross-conference clash in November.

"Defensively, we must defend the fast-break threat posed by Killester as our opponents are the best fast-breaking team in the league," said D'Alessio.

"They like to spread the floor well and we can't be taken off the dribble for easy scores in the half-court set. We must stop all five players on the court.

"We will look to limit our turnovers from the outset and run our offence against their aggressive man-to-man defence."

The women's final is the curtain-raiser to the day's action where Team Montenotte Hotel Cork bid to win their fourth successive title against DCU Mercy.

Last season, Montenotte broke Mercy hearts in the semi-final by the slightest of margins, 78-77 in double overtime, but they managed to get over their semi-final blues this time around courtesy of a hard-fought win over UL.

"I think our theme for this year was redemption," said Mercy head coach Mark Ingle.

"We're looking forward to getting into our first final as a club but more importantly I think if there is one game that the girls would want to play in, it would be with Montenotte."

Irish Independent

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