Eagles edge out Neptune to take firm grip in title race
By Tony Leen
It won’t compensate for the Cup final defeat, and it wasn’t especially pretty.
But even without Scott Kinevane and the experienced Matt Hall, UL Eagles took a firm grip on the top of the Nivea for Men’s Superleague with victory over their Cup conquerors, Neptune.
The Eagles eventually saw off their Cork rivals 69-65 and head coach Mark Keenan reflected: “It was a great battling performance. Both teams really wanted to win this one and brought a huge amount of intensity to the game.
“It wasn’t pretty but we fought until the end and ground it out, everyone really stepped it up a level tonight to secure this much needed win for us. We are one step closer to retaining our title as league champions. We will take each game as it comes but it is in our hands now to close out this season.”
Elsewhere, UCD Marian surprised fans with an impressive 84-75 win over a strong UCC Demons side.
Coming into the game off the back of a win over DCU Saints on Thursday, Marian had set themselves up nicely to challenge Demons.
UCD Marian’s head coach, Fran Ryan said: “Like all of the three encounters between the two teams this season the game was very close. This was the first time we managed it close it in our favour.
“Since Christmas everyone has been really committed to implementing the changes that needed to be made. The mood is positive in the camp and we are looking forward to our next game.”
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, all eyes were on DCU Complex to see if Team Montenotte Hotel Cork could enhance their growing reputation at one of the best sides in the league. They did, and in some style, controlling the tempo of the game from beginning to end for a 52-61 win.
It tees things up perfectly for their clash with UL Huskies next weekend in Cork, when the two National Cup finalists battle it out once more.
UL Huskies kept their focus to see off Killester 66-38 in Clontarf.
Said head coach, James Weldon: “After a week off after the cup we were a little rusty but we played well. We had a very good third quarter defensively and everyone contributed to this win on the road.”
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