Basketball previews: Ballincollig face the toughest test yet in Tralee

John Coughlan looks ahead to the Basketball Ireland National Cup clashes this weekend
Basketball previews: Ballincollig face the toughest test yet in Tralee

Andre Nation in action for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig against Ulster Elks. Picture: Larry Cummins

A TREK over the county bounds beckons for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig on Sunday when they face Tralee Warriors in an intriguing Hula Hoops Pat Duffy Men’s National Cup first-round clash at the Tralee Sports complex.

Three wins from three in their Super League campaign has made people realise the strength that Ballincollig possess but their opponents have the same record and are a tough nut to crack on their home court.

There will not be one empty seat at the Tralee Sports complex tomorrow as Ballincollig are guaranteed a hostile reception in front of the Warriors fans who yearn for cup success.

For the Ballincollig coach Kieran O’Sullivan his team have prepared for what the Warriors could throw at them.

“We would be foolish to underestimate the challenge that we are about to face but we have great belief in our ability and although Tralee Warriors are raging favourites with home-court advantage we believe that we have the artillery to match them,” said O’Sullivan.

After winning the opening three games in their league campaign there is great belief in the Ballincollig camp and in the words of O’Sullivan they are in the right frame of mind.

“We have done our homework and now it’s about getting the business done on court and hopefully the lads will produce the goods,” added O’Sullivan.

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig coach Kieran O'Sullivan. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig coach Kieran O'Sullivan. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The present form of Ballincollig’s American Andre Nation is solid and the bigger court should bring out the best in him.

Adrian O’Sullivan returned to the club this season after a spell in Germany and France and in the last two games is getting back to his best. To be fair O’Sullivan is a hard-working guard but it’s the form of his brother Ciaran that has dipped a little.

Ciaran in my book is the best shooter in this country when getting clear looks and he needs to be more involved on that side of his game.Dylan Corkery is a solid defender and a good athlete and his pace could well pose the Warriors problems.

Ballincollig also have two decent European players in Slovenian Milorad Sedlarevic and Spanish ace Pau Cami Galera and their contributions will be crucial on the night. The Kerry side have an excellent American in Aaron Calixte and if Ballincollig don’t restrict his influence they could have problems.

Eoin Quigley is also expected to return from injury for the Warriors in a game that could well go down to the wire.

At the start of the season The Address UCC Glanmire were being touted as the ‘Dream Team’ but in the opening four games that have lost two.

Consecutive defeats at home to Killester and away to Liffey Celtics have sent shockwaves through the league but coach Mark Scannell is not ready to press the panic button just yet.

The loss of Irish Senior International Claire Melia through illness played a major part in Glanmire’s defeats and she will return for their tricky cup trip to Dublin tomorrow to play Killester.

New American Glanmire signing Carrie Shepherd has yet to experience a win having played in their last two defeats as coach Scannell looks forward to this tough game in the capital.

“Look we lost to Killester last weekend in a good game of basketball and also went down to Liffey Celtics but for me we have enough of quality in the squad for me to be happy with the preparations that we had for this game,” said Mark Scannell.

Killester on their home court are tough opposition but coach Scannell believes his team will be ready for battle.

“We are used to pressure games and all I can guarantee is that my players will be fully tuned in come game time,” added Scannell.

UCC Demons are also involved in President’s Cup action when they welcome Ulster University to the Mardyke Arena on Sunday. Demons are unbeaten in the Southern conference but coach Danny O’Mahony is under no illusions of the challenge Ulster University will bring to the Mardyke. 

Despite putting in some recent below-par performances Demons have stuck with American Andre Kennedy and he will have a chance to show his skills in their toughest game to date.

The former Neptune ace Conor O’Sullivan has been shooting the lights for the northerners in recent games and maybe Kevin Moynihan will be given the task of shutting him down.

In Tala Fam, Demons have a serious talent and surely if they play hard defence there is every chance they will advance.

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