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Tralee open long-awaited season with Kerry derby as Demons return

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Belfast Star's Conor Quinn (C) with Dave Curley and Elaine Maher from InsureMyVan.ie at the National League launch and sponsorship announcement. The men's top flight has been renamed the insureMyVan.ie Super League and the women's equivalent renamed MissQuote.ie Super League

Belfast Star's Conor Quinn (C) with Dave Curley and Elaine Maher from InsureMyVan.ie at the National League launch and sponsorship announcement. The men's top flight has been renamed the insureMyVan.ie Super League and the women's equivalent renamed MissQuote.ie Super League

Kyle Hosford: "The time was right to come back into the league." Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Kyle Hosford: "The time was right to come back into the league." Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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Belfast Star's Conor Quinn (C) with Dave Curley and Elaine Maher from InsureMyVan.ie at the National League launch and sponsorship announcement. The men's top flight has been renamed the insureMyVan.ie Super League and the women's equivalent renamed MissQuote.ie Super League

Champions Belfast Star will begin their InsureMyVan.ie Super League defence in the northern conference against UCD Marian as fixtures were released yesterday after basketball’s 18-month hiatus.

Meanwhile, challengers Tralee Warriors will face Killorglin on October 9 in the southern conference, after they controversially missed out on top honours last time following a player eligibility issue.

Warriors vice-chairman Rick Leonard, who won the league with Tralee Tigers in 1996, regrets that the local derby takes place a week before fan restrictions are fully lifted.

“The atmosphere won’t be the same but it’s the local derby all the same. They’ll be ready to kill each other. That won’t change. But to miss out on that atmosphere that a local derby brings is a bit disappointing,” he said.

The 51-year-old American, who has long settled in Tralee, admits they have unfinished business after a points deduction allowed Star scoop the title the last time.

“We had to finish in second place. That’s nearly two years old now and a lot of different players have come and gone but it’s still somewhere deep inside and we have to channel that in the right way.”

Elsewhere, UCC Demons make their return to senior men’s basketball against Killarney Cougars in Division 1 South, after the Cork side sat out the 2019-2020 season.

Ireland international and Demons stalwart Kyle Hosford also returns after a stint with city rivals Neptune – who remain in the top flight – before the pandemic-forced break.

“Demons have a very good young squad but if there was no senior side to aspire to they’d have lost a lot of players. The time was right to come back into the league,” Hosford said.

The rivalry between Neptune and Demons, however, has waned with both sides in different divisions.

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“There was no abuse like that (when I made the switch to Neptune) I wasn’t thrown out of home or anything,” Hosford joked.

“Right now (the rivalry) is kind of nothing, we’re not in the same league, but back in the day it was all Demons and Neptune.”

In the women’s MissQuote.ie Super League, Mark Ingle’s champions DCU Mercy begin their campaign against WIT Wildcats.


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