EMPORIUM Cork Basketball are back on the road this weekend when they travel west to play Southern Conference leaders University of Galway Maree.
To be fair, it hasn’t been a good season for Ballincollig in winning close games as last weekend they failed to put their game to bed in normal time against Belfast Star.
It is unknown how long Adrian O’Sullivan will be sidelined after missing the Star defeat, but they will need him in the coming weeks with a crucial double-header weekend against DBS Éanna and Killester looming.
Player-coach Ciaran O’Sullivan will be determined to get his side back in the winning mindset and a win against Maree would be a huge boost going forward.
Credit to the Galway side they have already won the National Cup and are favourites to add the Super League title to their silverware.
If any side can win at Maree, Ballincollig can as they look a side that will match up to them and it wouldn’t be a major surprise if they secured the all-important points.
Energywise Ireland Neptune are not having the season they envisaged and their clash against Killester at Neptune Stadium tomorrow is crucial.
Coach Colin O’Reilly has plenty of plenty of weapons at his disposal and they will need to be firing against a Killester side that tend to keep their best performances for their home court at Clontarf.
On the plus side for Neptune, they have a good record against the Dublin outfit and restricting the influence of Paul Dick will be very much in the mind of coach O’Reilly.
The Blackpool side have two Americans at their disposal and although Tarkus Ferguson hasn’t played well in his last two games his CV suggests he is better than his numbers are showing.
Jordan Evans led the scoring against UCD Marian but that wouldn’t convince the faithful as the Dublin side are a very weak unit.
Killester bring plenty of experience with Dick, Ciaran Roe, Johnny Behan and Al Casey but surely Neptune will have too much for them in a game that could have huge significance for the Cork side if they fail to get the all-important win.
UCC Demons are on a seven-game winning run but their credentials will be tested when they travel over the county bounds to play Flexachem Killorglin.
When these teams clashed in the first round Demons secured a hard-earned win but the Kerry side are tough opposition on their home court.
Demons MJ Randolph will need to have another influential game to keep his side on track to make the playoffs and fellow professional Kingsley Nwagboso is sure to be tested on the boards.
Kyle Hosford picked up a niggling hip injury in Dublin but is expected to be fit and with Tala Thiam Fam having a serious season surely Demons will depart the south Kerry venue with maximum points.
In the Women’s Super League it’s derby time again for the second week running and this weekend The Address UCC Glanmire visit Fr Mathew’s.
Leaders Glanmire were pushed to the pin of their collars by Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell before a Khia Rasheed basket won it at the death.
Coach Mark Scannell showed all his experience coming down the stretch but his team were given a rare fright.
Fr Mathew’s for their part were bound to be traumatised after losing in three periods of overtime to the University of Galway Mystics but in reality the Cork side should be easily defeating their west of Ireland opponents.
Hard to see them troubling Glanmire as they will need a season-best to even compete with them.
Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell are on the road when they travel to play Liffey Celtics who upset Trinity Meteors last weekend.
To be fair, Brunell shot the ball extremely well against Glanmire and new American Akilah Bethel looks a decent player who will get better if she can improve her fitness.
There is little doubt if Brunell had two professionals all season they would have been competing for the major honours.
On this occasion, they will know they will have to compete in the physicality stakes against their Kildare opponents but a win is not beyond them.