Defeat for Neptune and Fr Mathew's marks a poor National Cup campaign for Cork basketball clubs

Ballincollig are flying the flag in the men's last four while Brunell U18s also reached the semis but overall it's been a disappointing campaign to date
Defeat for Neptune and Fr Mathew's marks a poor National Cup campaign for Cork basketball clubs

Roy Downey, Energywise Ireland Neptune captain, introduced to the crowd with young Anthony Griffin on Saturday night. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT was a disappointing weekend for Cork clubs Neptune and Fr Mathew’s as Ballincollig playing under the Emporium Cork Basketball banner are now the only Leeside Super League club left in the cup championships.

There is little doubt Neptune’s defeat to Eanna was met with huge disappointment as they had put huge investment into their team and are again hosting the semi-finals on the weekend of January 6-8.

A win would have set up a sold-out semi-final against Ballincollig, but it wasn’t to be as they went down 97-33 after a thrilling contest.

A lot of work has gone into the Neptune club this season and this defeat will come as a major blow to their aspirations.

Having three professionals and a coach on the payroll brings extra pressure and in truth their squad so far this season have underachieved.

To give Neptune credit they have 11 Super League titles to their name and although they have five National Cup titles at the top tier their record over the last 30 years in this championship has been disappointing.

The Neptune Stadium was the bedrock of the National Cup finals for many years but since it was taken out of their home venue, they have only managed to win it once. Under coach Mark Scannell in 2013, they ended a 21-year drought and 10 years on the faithful are still waiting.

Looking back on the game Neptune can have few excuses as they started well before going into a lull. The biggest disappointment for the fans was the manner Eanna punished them at will with their outside shooting a replica of the manner they saw off the Blackpool side three weeks ago in a league game.

For the former Neptune ace Sean Jenkins, it was another good night at the office as his second-half performance saw him finish with a 19-point tally much to delight of his proud mother Angeline Myers.

Credit to Emporium Cork Basketball they will now try and keep Cork’s hopes alive when they play Eanna in the last four.

ARTILLERY

Ballincollig playing in the Super League for the second season will no doubt study Eanna and feel they have the weapons to restrict their shooting artillery.

 Killester players Conroy Baltimore and Paddy Sullivan fighting for this breaking ball with Pau Cami Galera, Ballincollig. Picture: Dan Linehan
Killester players Conroy Baltimore and Paddy Sullivan fighting for this breaking ball with Pau Cami Galera, Ballincollig. Picture: Dan Linehan

The one plus for Ballincollig is that player-coach Ciaran O’Sullivan will have his team structured and if they play to their potential and respect their opponents, they have a very good chance of making the final.

Having three Super League teams each in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions one would have thought would see a better return at this level and no doubt the hotels in Dublin will be disappointed there is a chance no Cork team will be in the capital for the finals weekend.

Fr Mathew’s travelled to Dublin for their quarter-final clash with DCU Mercy and suffered a 25-point defeat. Despite a good start Mathew’s were worn down and after strengthening their squad this season they look a side in serious decline.

All season coach Niamh Dwyer has struggled to improve her team’s defence and now a long winter awaits them as they don’t look to have a side capable of challenging for the Super League title. The other two sides in the Women’s Super League The Address UCC Glanmire and Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell also bit the dust early in the cup after having a great run in previous years.

In the U18 Women’s National Cup Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell qualified for the semi-final and Blue Demons' fate in the U20 Men’s National Cup will be known on Saturday when they travel to play Templeogue in Dublin.

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