IT will be a big weekend for Ballincollig outfit Emporium Cork Basketball as they get ready to go head to head with Dublin side Eanna in the Pat Duffy National Cup semi-final at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday (8pm).
The Ballincollig side warmed up for this game with a hard fought four point win over Killorglin on Monday.
Speaking after the game assistant coach Daniel O’Sullivan was happy with the result but knows there is a lot more left in the tank for his side.
O’Sullivan said: “To be honest I thought Killorglin played very well and when you look at their starting five they are up there with the best in this league and that’s why its hard to work out their league position.” Looking ahead to the National Cup semi-final coach O’Sullivan knows that nothing but a workmanlike 40 minutes will suffice.
O’Sullivan added: “I think they have shown all season that they have players ready to fill roles as it started with Tomic getting injured and Mark Reynolds filled that role with relative ease and class and now they have to find somebody to fill the boots of Sean Jenkins.”
Just like Ballincollig Eanna looked in trouble last weekend when trailing Belfast Star 61-46 entering the last quarter and incredibly they responded by outscoring the northerners 29-6 to secure the points.
“There is no use beating around the bush we know the challenge that is ahead of us but I every belief that our head coach Ciaran O’Sullivan will put a good game plan together and hopefully it will fall into place,” concluded Daniel.
Although Killorglin edged into a two point lead with two minutes remaining Ballincollig found a way to win and sometimes winning games of this nature can give a team a much needed lift.
The news from the Eanna camp is one of frustration as Cork born and former Neptune star Sean Jenkins has been ruled out after rolling his ankle against Belfast Star last weekend.
Make no mistake the Neptune stadium is a stage that Jenkins has been known to excel on and he will be missed by his side.
The chances of their leading Bosman Marko Tomic playing is an outside one and with Scott Kinevane also struggling the Dublin side will go into the game with an understrength side.
Darren McGovern who has been at the helm for a number of years with Eanna has great belief in his squad and is hoping their strength in depth will stand to them.
McGovern said: “It has been a tough period for us with injuries and coming into the period when silverware is handed out it is not the ideal time.
“We are raging underdogs going into this game as Ballincollig have a fully fit squad and as we all know they have some great quality throughout their team.” The Eanna club are presently putting big work in at all levels and coach McGovern is hoping they will be rewarded for their efforts with a place in the final.
McGovern added: “Ballincollig are a great club who have done very well since they took the step to play Super League basketball but we have defeated last year’s winners and runners up in the build- up to this game.
“I think playing in the Neptune stadium where the atmosphere is always electric should lift both teams and in the end we are hoping we will come out at the right end.” The match ups will be interesting as Ballincollig player coach Ciaran O’Sullivan will need to curtail the threat of Joshua Wilson, Romonn Nelson and Stefan Desnica as they are formidable scorers.
Luckily for Ballincollig they have good defenders in Dylan Corkery and Jose Jimenez Gonzales and this duo’s performance in this department will be crucial.
In the case of Spanish ace Gonzales he is a superb talent but it’s important he doesn’t get caught up in the hype of this semi-final.
Adrian O’Sullivan and Ballincollig’s second Spanish ace Pau Cami Galera have serious pace and if American John Dawson is in a good shooting mood Ballincollig have every chance of booking a final berth.