Basketball previews: Brunell and Ballincollig are setting the pace

John Coughlan looks ahead to the weekend league action featuring Glanmire, Fr Mathew's, Demons, Neptune, Ballincollig and Brunell
Basketball previews: Brunell and Ballincollig are setting the pace

Brunell supporters and Edel Thornton celebrate at the final whistle at their win over DCU Mercy in the Women's Super league at The Parochial Hall. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

SINGLETON’S SuperValu Brunell will be hoping to maintain their leadership in the Women’s Super League when they host WIT Wildcats at the Parochial Hall tomorrow (7pm).

It has been a good start to the season for Brunell and coach Timmy O’Halloran will have his side primed to chalk up another win.

“The international break saw us working hard to maintain our fitness but with Edel Thornton playing extremely well for Ireland her experience and skill is always a huge boost to our side,” said O’Halloran.

The Brunell chief knows the threat that Wildcats could pose his team and has warned his players to be ready for battle.

“Wildcats are a very decent side with two good Americans and quality Irish players so we will need to tuned in from tip-off.” 

Brunell have only lost to Glanmire in this campaign and their two Americans Kwanze Murray and Shannon Ryan have hit the ground running.

In their recent games, young Kelly Sexton has shot some monstrous three-pointers but as the season matures teams will get to know her ability and will focus on shutting her down.

The return of Simone O’Shea has strengthened the northsiders as she plays intense defence and is not afraid to take the open looks at the hoop.

Orla O’Reilly is a battler on the boards and if Katie Walsh gets more discipline into her shooting options she will improve immensely as a player.

Wildcats are a difficult team to weigh up but with Jasmine Walker and Stephanie O’Shea in their squad, they are bound to test the Brunell mettle.

It’s a big weekend also for Fr Mathew’s fresh from their impressive win over Liffey Celtics and the visit of The Address UCC Glanmire is bound to bring a special atmosphere to the Model farm Road venue on Sunday.

Mathew’s lost their opening three league games but bounced back to defeat a highly rated Liffey Celtics side.

In Grainne Dwyer, they have a player who spent her best years playing with Glanmire but now in the twilight of her career, she is strutting her skills at Mathew’s.

Dwyer, fresh from playing with the Irish senior team, has great heart and she will need a season-best if her side are going to gain the bragging rights in this intriguing fixture.

SHOWDOWN

There is a huge game for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig in the Men’s Super League when the leaders host second-placed Eanna from Dublin.

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's Ciaran O'Sullivan holding off Killester's Ciaran Roe. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's Ciaran O'Sullivan holding off Killester's Ciaran Roe. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Ballincollig showed great composure last weekend when easily disposing of a highly-rated Killester and coach Kieran O’Sullivan is looking forward to another great day at Ballincollig Community School.

“We are certainly doing okay as a squad so far but there is plenty more to come from us and I am sure Eanna will be a huge test,” said Kieran O’Sullivan.

Eanna have a squad that includes Bosmans Stefan Zecevic, Stefan Desinica (injured), Alex Dolenko (injured) and Ramonn Nelson plus Americans Devin Gilmore and Jeffery Gordon but in the words of coach Darren McGovern those injuries are a huge problem.

“We will be travelling to Cork with eight players and the loss of our Serbian player Stefan Desinica is particularly worrying as he is serious defender that gives our team huge inspiration,” said  McGovern.

“We have never beaten Ballincollig since I joined the club [despite getting promoted ahead of them in 2018] and we know they have seasoned campaigners in their camp that will pose us problems.” 

C & S Neptune on the back of a pulsating league win against Templeogue travel to the capital for a cup quarter-final rehearsal against Killester.

The Blackpool side have been playing reasonably well all season but Killester are tough on their home court and maybe both sides may use this game to the equivalent of a shadow boxing match with the cup clash looming.

UCC Demons have started the Men’s Division 1 League season well and they host Portlaoise Panthers at the Mardyke Arena on Sunday. New signing Toby Christensen will have to sit out this clash due to the residency rule.

Fr Mathew’s lost out last weekend after extra time Limerick Sports Eagles and tomorrow they have a chance to get back to winning ways when they host Limerick Celtics.

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