Ballincollig and Neptune both in the mix for the Super League title

Village have topped the Southern Conference while the northsiders will likely have to settle for third place and an away quarter-final
Ballincollig and Neptune both in the mix for the Super League title

C & S Neptune's Nil Sabata battles UCD Marian's Jean Jonathan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

TRADEHOUSE Central Ballincollig will be hoping to continue with their unbeaten record tomorrow when they host Galway side Moycullen at Ballincollig Community School.

To be fair, last weekend was a big test for the league leaders when playing Tralee Warriors back-to-back in the space of 24 hours losing the first game away by four points but winning the second by six.

Reports from both games suggest they were competitive as you would expect in a Cork and Kerry clash.

On the plus side, Ballincollig are better on the head-to-head that guarantees them the number one slot in the Southern Conference.

As already documented, the only prize on offer will be a home quarter-final where a win will also guarantee them a home semi-final with the final due to be played in Dublin on the weekend of April 2-3.

The reality is that we are six weeks away from the conclusion of the Men’s Super League and plenty of basketball to be played.

There is little doubt if there was a player of the season it would go to Ballincollig’s American Andre Nation who has been sensational in the majority of games of this campaign.

Tomorrow, Ballincollig will go into the Moycullen game full of confidence as the westerners played in Cork last weekend and after putting it up to Neptune in the first they went into total meltdown in the second.

To be fair, Moycullen also have a battling American in Grant Olson who finished with a game-high 28 points in the Neptune defeat.

The problem with Moycullen is the lack of depth among their Irish players. Paul Kelly, an underage star, has decided to concentrate on his Galway career.

Coach John Cunningham is a genuine basketball man and although his club are well structured the gap of quality players coming through from their underage grade to Super League level has all but dried up.

Ballincollig will surely win this game in a canter.

C & S Neptune make the trip over the county bounds for a clash with Killorglin who defeated them in the first round at the Neptune Stadium.

Killorglin played exceptionally well back then but players like American Alain Thomas have underachieved in recent games. Looking at Killorglin in a recent game at Ballincollig all they could muster up was a mere 42 points and they will need to improve big time to defeat Neptune for a second time.

Neptune were sloppy in the first half against Moycullen before responding in the second to outscore their Galway opponents 31-8. How can a team play so poorly in the opening two quarters before eventually playing the type of basketball they are capable of?

American Miles Washington needs to improve big time in the closing weeks of the season for his team to have any chance of competing in the play-offs.

The expectation is Neptune will finish third in the Southern Conference and that could set up an away quarter-final clash with Belfast Star. Neptune were in Belfast last weekend and were unlucky to lose by the minimum and player-coach Colin O’Reilly will feel his side have the ability to turn the tables on the northerners.

There is little doubt Neptune cannot afford to lose against Killorglin and if they show a glimpse of their best form they should secure maximum points.

It has been a dreadful season for Fr Mathew’s in the Women’s Super League but they should have little difficulty in securing maximum points when they host IT Carlow at Fr Mathew’s Arena tomorrow.

For coach Niamh Dwyer in her debut season at the helm, it has been a baptism of fire as her side has shown little or no consistency.

Losing to teams like Trinity Meteors and St Mary’s Castleisland was certainly not what the doctor ordered but in a nutshell, many of their leading players have underachieved on a consistent basis.

Hopefully, this game will see them brush the cobwebs off with the season coming to a conclusion in the coming weeks.

 Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons, battles David Gleeson, Scotts Lakers Killarney. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons, battles David Gleeson, Scotts Lakers Killarney. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

UCC Demons are involved in a doubleheader as they head to Limerick tonight for a clash with UL Eagles with the Shannonsiders returning to the Parochial Hall on Sunday (2.30pm).

UL were shocked by Fr Mathew’s last weekend but with Demons not playing to their strengths in recent weeks getting one win out of two is not beyond them.

Fr Mathew’s are also in action in the Men’s Division One National League when they entertain Killarney Cougars tomorrow (7.45pm).

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