IT was a good weekend for Cork clubs Energywise Ireland Neptune and Cork Emporium Basketball in their trip over the county bounds to face Kerry opposition.
Cork Emporium Basketball had to face the cauldron of the Tralee Sports Complex but came away with an impressive 95-65 win.
The Ballincollig side led the opening three quarters and were in a comfortable position entering the fourth period.
As you would expect, the Warriors rallied, but it wasn’t enough as Ballincollig held out for a deserved win.
The foundation for the win was the defence played by the Cork side as they restricted the Warriors American De Ondre Jackson to 17 points.
It was nice to see Ronan O’Sullivan having his best game of the season since his return from Vietnam and his 15-point return justified his increase in minutes on court. In the case of American John Dawson, it was also a good evening at the office when he checked in with 21 points.
Player-coach Ciaran O’Sullivan had nine points with brother Adrian having a low-key contribution in the offence court with a seven-point tally.
Double champions Warriors are a shadow of the team that we witnessed over previous seasons as their professionals are not what the team needed. When your Irish players are not renowned high scorers you need big figures from your professionals and that hasn’t happened for Tralee this season.
There is little doubt the fans are still loyal to the Donaghy factor, but at the tender age of 38 Kieran is naturally not the force he was though still a wholehearted player. Tralee side will be mulling over the forthcoming Christmas period, but right now they are in real danger of missing the cut from the Southern Conference for the Super League play-offs.
Energywise Ireland Neptune travelled to Killorglin for what many predicted would be a tricky fixture, but the Blackpool side made short work of their opposition with a comfortable 108-87 win.
In a high-scoring first quarter, both teams were intent on gaining control with Killorglin after having a 12-point lead were pegged back to lead 28-22.
Neptune turned the screw in the second quarter and coach Colin O’Reilly will be pleased with the contributions of Keonn Scott and Xabier Arriaga as they commanded a seven-point interval lead.
Backed by another capacity attendance at the Killorglin venue the Kerry side were not prepared to throw in the towel but Neptune looked to be in the driving seat as the fourth quarter loomed when taking a nine-point lead.
Coming down the stretch Neptune showed their class and blitzed Killorglin with champagne basketball that sealed the points in style.
The next fortnight will be crucial as Neptune travel to Ballincollig on Saturday for a Cork derby against Cork Emporium Basketball and the following weekend a home cup quarter-final against Eanna. On a positive note, the charismatic Catalonian star Nil Sabata is back in action and his contribution will be crucial in both games.
It was another loss for Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell in the Women’s Super League when they lost after extra-time to Waterford Wildcats 84-70. Incredibly, the sides finished at 70 points each at the end of normal time but Brunell were outscored 14-0 in extra-time despite putting in a huge shift.
The signs are ominous that it is going to be a long winter for Brunell as playing with only a Victory Scholar is hampering their progress with American Mary Dunn still sidelined with injury.
Best wishes to Brunell’s Edel Thornton who will captain the Irish women’s team against the Netherlands on Sunday.