Basketball: Neptune can turn tables on Tralee as Glanmire and Brunell collide again

Cork clubs Ballincollig and UCC Demons are also in Tallaght this weekend as the season concludes with silverware up for grabs
Basketball: Neptune can turn tables on Tralee as Glanmire and Brunell collide again

C & S Neptune's Aleix Tarradellas wins the ball from Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's Ciaran O'Sullivan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE final weekend of basketball will surely bring an influx of fans to the capital as the Men’s Super League, Men’s Division 1 and Women’s Champions Trophy lead the billing at Tallaght.

There is little doubt the Men’s Super League final between C & S Neptune and Tralee Warriors is the one all basketball fans have waited for since the cup final that the Kerry side won.

Since that final Neptune defeated the Warriors 91-81 which started a six-game winning run for the Blackpool side and they will travel to Dublin in full knowledge they have the measure of their Kerry rivals.

To be fair Neptune’s quarter-final win over Killester in Dublin was impressive, but it was their semi-final win away to Ballincollig coming from 17 down to see off the Southern Conference champions.

One major plus for player-coach Colin O’Reilly was the improved form of Americans Miles Washington and Richaud Gittens whose work-rate has upped at both ends of the court.

Coach O’Reilly decided against giving himself too many minutes of court time and his tactics worked a treat as at one stage of the second quarter they looked buried. The mature side of Neptune resurfaced with players like Gary Walsh and Cian Heaphy putting in serious shifts.

Roy Downey had a poor game for long periods but did show his class coming down the stretch that included nailing a crucial three-pointer. Catalonian stars Nil Sabata and Aleix Tarradelis were crucial in the Ballincollig win with the latter proving many of his critics wrong following some low-key displays since his return from injury.

The Warriors have a class American in Aaron Calixte and although Niko Rosa is reportedly injured, they do have a top Bosman in Daniel Jokubaitis whose shooting in the cup final posed Neptune plenty of problems.

Kieran Donaghy likes nothing better than performing on the big stage and fellow Irish players Eoin Quigley and Darragh O’Hanlon are more than capable of making contributions in this final.

Neptune, in their 75th year, have the ability to win the title if they bring their A-game to the table.

There is every chance they can return to Leeside with the silverware and end a 19-year drought.

Verdict: C & S Neptune.

In the Women’s Champions Trophy final it will be an all-Cork decider between league and cup champions The Address UCC Glanmire and Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell.

Glanmire will go into this game as hot favourites having defeated Brunell three times this season (once in the cup) and in recent weeks they have retained their impressive form.

 Tierney Pfirman in action for The Address UCC Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins
Tierney Pfirman in action for The Address UCC Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins

In reality, Brunell had a chance to defeat Glanmire when the sides clashed in the cup semi-final when their opponents lined out with one American but after a good start their challenge petered out.

The one plus for Glanmire is the experience of coach Mark Scannell who certainly knows how to prepare teams for big games while his opposite number Timmy O’Halloran is still awaiting his first piece of silverware after his three-year stint at the helm.

Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Kwanza Murray goes past WIT Waterford Wildcat's Jazmine Walker. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Kwanza Murray goes past WIT Waterford Wildcat's Jazmine Walker. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

It should be a highly charged game but for me, the class of Glanmire will be enough for them to complete the Grand Slam.

Verdict: The Address UCC Glanmire.

The Men’s Division 1 title will be decided when UCC Demons and Sligo All-Stars go head to head at basketball headquarters.

Demons defeated Sligo All-Stars in the cup semi-final in Cork but reports from the west suggest they are ready to gain revenge in this final.

The westerners have a class American in Keith Jordan and with Bosman Zack Powell doing the business all season Demons will need to be at their best to nullify this twin threat.

Credit to Demons ace Kyle Hosford who last week showed courage in leading his team to a semi-final win over Malahide. Hosford is carrying a slight injury but has been playing through the pain barrier in recent months.

 Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons captain. Picture: Larry Cummins
Kyle Hosford, UCC Demons captain. Picture: Larry Cummins

Danish star Toby Christensen is unpredictable but effective and when players needed to step up David Lehane and Mathew McCarthy were not found wanting.

With both sides guaranteed Super League basketball next season, this is a game that could go either way but if Demons are in the mood they could just about shade it.

Verdict: UCC Demons.

Ballincollig are involved in the U20 Men’s National League final when they go head to head against the National cup champions UCD Marian.

The Dublin side are a tall and talented side and it will take a huge Ballincollig performance to deny them the elusive double.

Verdict: UCD Marian.

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