Sunday 19 November 2017

Neptune 'feeling pressure' to retain cup -- Scannell

Bord Gais Neptune put their title on the line against Dublin Inter
Bord Gais Neptune put their title on the line against Dublin Inter
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

ALL eyes will be on Cork this weekend as the city hosts both the men's and women's National Cup semi-finals.

First up tonight are the two men's last-four clashes as the league's top two sides start the action with C&S UCC Demons taking on Killester (7.0).

Despite being unbeaten this season, Demons' Ciaran O'Sullivan is only too aware of the unpredictable nature of cup competition.

"Everyone knows that the league standings go out the window when it comes to the National Cup. We are confident as we have worked hard all year, but it really could go either way," he said.

Tonight's second semi-final sees Bord Gais Neptune put their title on the line against Dublin Inter (9.0).

Neptune will be boosted by playing in front of what is expected to be a large home crowd.

The Corkmen emerged as three-point winners when the teams met last month, but Neptune head coach Mark Scannell admits that his side are feeling the pressure.

"This season we haven't blown any other team out and as a team we feel the pressure of retaining the title, but also the confidence that we are the team to beat," he said.

Dublin Inter will be buoyed by their quarter-final win over UL Eagles and will travel to Cork without any fear.

"This is the biggest game of the season for us so far," said Inter head coach Sarunas Cesnauskas.

"It's daunting taking on a Cork team in their own gym for a National Cup semi-final, but we learned a lot from our quarter-final."

The women's semi-finals take centre stage tomorrow, with Neptune Stadium again the venue. Defending champions UL Huskies are first on court as they take on Killester (6.0).

The Dubliners inflicted a first defeat of the campaign on Huskies, and Huskies star Rachael Vanderwal maintains that her side must return to winning ways soon.

"We aren't used to losing -- it's new to us and we don't like it," she said. "As a team we become more motivated when we don't perform well or drop a game, so we are looking forward to this game and getting back on track."

The league's top two sides, DCU Mercy and Team Montenotte Hotel Cork, round off the weekend's action when they meet in a highly anticipated clash (8.0). Just two points separate them in the league and Montenotte's Niamh Dwyer is hoping that her side can build on their recent good form.

"Our season has been a bit up and down so far, but we have won two games on the bounce, which will be good for our confidence going into this tough game," she said.

Irish Independent

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