Cork basketball: Killester ready to push unbeaten Ballincollig to the limit

John Coughlan previews the weekend Basketball Ireland action, featuring Ballincollig, Neptune, Fr Mathew's and Blue Demons
Cork basketball: Killester ready to push unbeaten Ballincollig to the limit

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's Keelan Cairns is capable of offering more to help his new club's good start to the season. Picture: Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus

IT’S a big weekend for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig as they host crack Dublin side Killester tomorrow in the Men’s Super League at Ballincollig Community School, 4pm.

Ballincollig are the only unbeaten side in the Men’s Super League but Killester are probably the toughest test they will have faced this season.

Last weekend, the Cork side showed good composure when winning away to Moycullen and joint head coach Kieran O’Sullivan knows his side will have to be at their best to contain this Killester side.

“Killester have an excellent American in Kason Harrell and a good Spanish ace in Tomas Fernandez but we will be ready for the challenge,” said O’Sullivan.

The form of the Ballincollig American Andre Nation has been important as he is getting better with each game he plays. Nation is athletic and a great competitor but his credentials are sure to be tested by Harrell who has really inspired the Dublin club in recent weeks that included a league win over Templeogue.

Irish players, Johnny Behan and Michael Westbrooks are veterans of the league but still continue to make telling contributions for the Dublin club. Irish international point guard Ciaran Roe is the conductor of the Killester orchestra in his position and his battle with the Ballincollig captain Adrian O’Sullivan will be fascinating.

Keelan Cairns will have to bring more to his game than just shooting three-pointers as the Belfast-born veteran has had a disappointing season to date by his standards.

Despite having four wins under their belt, Ballincollig haven’t actually been firing on all cylinders overall so this will be a good opportunity for their players to showcase their skills.

There was a major disappointment for Neptune last weekend when they lost to Killorglin on the buzzer.

In a well-documented game, Neptune had victory in their sights but poor defending allowed Xabier Arriaga nail a last gasp three. Neptune player-coach Colin O’Reilly is offering good minutes to his aspiring Irish players but American Miles Washington continues to give up early silly fouls that restrict his court-time late on.

C & S Neptune's Colin O'Reilly is fouled by Killorglin's Xabier Arriaga. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
C & S Neptune's Colin O'Reilly is fouled by Killorglin's Xabier Arriaga. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Blackpool outfit are now on the back of three league defeats and tomorrow’s game against Templeogue will definitely show where they're at. 

Templeogue lost American DJ Mitchell after one game and have since used veteran Puff Summers as his replacement.

Lorcan Murphy will be a handful for Neptune’s defence and they will need a season-best from Catalonian Nil Sabata, who has been working and resident in this city for the past two years.

On the plus side, it was good to see many of the Neptune old guard like Liam McGinn, Michael Finn, Niall O’Riordan, Jim O’Donoghue and Dave Cody at last week’s game and they departed knowing that the top team in the club are still giving their all on court.

Tomorrow’s game at the Neptune stadium tips off at 6.30pm.

BIG CALL

UCC Demons are also unbeaten in the Men’s Division 1 National League and they should continue with their winning ways when they travel over the county bounds tomorrow for a clash with Scott’s Lakers Killarney.

Last week, Demons sacked American Andre Kennedy a decision that coach Danny O’Mahony found hard to explain to his professional, with his team unbeaten.

“It was more about Andre not being suited to our team as when you are a professional in Ireland and you cannot play with your back to the basket,” said O’Mahony.

The Demons team chief is adamant both he and the club committee have come to the right decision.

“It’s never nice to tell a person they no longer have a job but that’s part of my role as when you hire them you have got to be prepared to fire them but in saying that Andre was a very nice guy and I do wish him well,” added O’Mahony.

UCC Demons also announced that they have recruited 6' 7" Danish player Toby Christensen who has previously played in Killarney and Sligo but will have to sit out 30 days due to the residency rule.

Fr Mathew’s with only one loss this season to fellow Cork side UCC Demons travel to Limerick to play UL Eagles.

Eagles are also unbeaten in the southern conference with coach Matt Hall fresh from picking up Coach of the Month for October.

Mathew’s are a decent side and in Jack O’Mahony they have a player with Super League level talent. Although this is a tricky fixture they are capable of taking maximum points.

There are no fixtures in the Women’s Super League with the international team in action on Sunday against the Czech Republic in Dublin.

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