Basketball Ireland National League Preview: November 8th & 9th

Travelodge Swords Thunder put their claim as league ‘Dark Horses’ on the line when they face champions Killester this Sunday.

The North Dublin derby forms part of the latest Men’s Premier League Double Header at the National Basketball Arena. Killester are without the services of Kieran O’Brien and Mariano Gomez but were boosted by the return of Michael Westbrooks to training during the week.

Swords are being talked about as potential trophy contenders despite contesting their first season in the Men’s Premier League. Point guard Isaac Westbrooks has been in searing form since his switch from Killester but will set aside old loyalties this weekend.

“I’m treating it the same as any other game – Working hard in practice to get ready for a physical game with a lot of tough defence played by both teams. It will be tough to play against Michael (Westbrooks) of course but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
There’s another Dublin derby in Clonsilla where Dublin Inter host DCU Saints. Both sides lost in last weekend’s Arena double header to Swords Thunder and C&S UCC Demons respectively. Inter coach Todd James is looking to lower expectations for his European influenced side.

“Inter have talent but it’s sporadic at the minute. We need more of the big guys more often. If we’re in the middle of the league by the end of the season, I’ll have done my job.”

C&S UCC Demons Head Coach Colin O’Reilly is calling for a “forty minute effort of high intensity” to maintain their unbeaten streak at UCD Marian this weekend. UCD Marian are 2-3 to date and are expected to set up defensively against O’Reilly and company.

UL Eagles play their first home game of the season when they welcome Belfast Star to the UL arena. The sides first clashed on the opening weekend of the league with Eagles snatching the win in overtime. Matt Hall is wary of a backlash. “We’re delighted to be back playing at the Arena” says the Limerick based guard “but Belfast Star will be gunning for us. We’ll be looking for a bigger return from our offensive sets on Saturday”

Belfast Star turn around for a Sunday clash against Templeogue at the National Basketball Arena.
Templeogue have renewed optimism following the signing of Irish International Conor Grace. The 6’9 32 year old is recovering from a long standing injury but could feature in the Arena double header, which will also be streamed live on the TG4 website.

Courtyard Liffey Celtics will look to maintain pressure on the Women’s Premier League leaders when they host UL Huskies at the Leixlip Amenities Centre this weekend. UL Huskies have lost their last 3 games while Celtics are unbeaten in the same period. Captain Aine O’Connor puts it down to team work. “We’re learning how to play to our strengths. It’s about playing as a unit, crashing the boards and making the most of any height advantage”

Killester may give debuts to their American recruits when they visit Team Montenotte Hotel in Glanmire. Olivia Lee and Robin Murphy’s arrival would be timely after a winless start to the league season and a cup tie against Liffey Celtics on the horizon.

Singleton Supervalu Brunell face the top scorers in the league at the DCU Sports Complex on Sunday. DCU Mercy’s Sarah Woods is the only player with a 20 point average while Caroline Stewart is second in the scoring stats on 18 points per game. Brunell have slipped to fifth in the league after two defeats in a row.
The Senior Women’s National Cup gets underway on Sunday where Oblate Dynamos host Team Denjoes American Style.

In the Women’s First Division, all eyes will be on Portlaoise Panthers’ Kelsey Harris. The American netted 50 points on her debut last week. Panthers hostGarveys Tralee Imperials at St Mary’s Hall. NUIG Mystics take on IT Carlow in Galway with both sides chasing their first win.

Basketball Ireland National League Fixture Schedule

Saturday 8th November

Men’s Premier League:

Dublin Inter v DCU Saints, Mountview Y&C Club, Dublin, 18:00;
UCD Marian v C&S UCC Demons, UCD Sports Centre, Dublin, 19:00;
UL Eagles v Belfast Star, UL Sport Arena, Limerick, 19:45

Women’s Premier League:

Team Montenotte Hotel v Killester, Upper Glanmire Sports Centre, Cork, 17:00;
Courtyard Liffey Celtics v UL Huskies, Leixlip Amenities Centre, Kildare, 19:30

Men’s Division One:
Eanna v Team Left Bank Kilkenny, Colaiste Eanna, 17:00;
JM&L Auctioneers Titans v Fr Mathews, Merlin Woods College, Galway, 19:00;
Maree v Blue Demons, Calasanctius College Oranmore, Galway, 19:45

Women’s Division One:
NUIG Mystics v IT Carlow, NUIG, 13:30

Sunday 9 November 2014

Men’s Premier League:

Templeogue v Belfast Star, National Basketball Arena, Dublin, 14:00;
Killester v Travelodge Swords Thunder, National Basketball Arena, Dublin, 16:00

Women’s Premier League:

DCU Mercy v Singleton Supervalu Brunell, DCU Sports Complex, Dublin , 15:30

Women’s Division One:

Portlaoise Panthers v Garveys Tralee Imperials, St Mary’s Hall, Laois 14:00

Senior Women’s National Cup:

Oblate Dynamos v Team Denjoes American Style, Oblate Hall, Dublin, 13:30;

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