By John Coughlan
C & S Neptune returned to the top flight of Irish basketball this season with high hopes of rekindling the glory days of the Eighties and Nineties, but after five games they are still in search of their first win.
Despite the drought, coach Paul Kelleher believes his team will turn things around, though he knows they must improve defensively in tomorrow’s Men’s Super League clash against Galway outfit Maree at the Neptune Stadium.
“In reality, we haven’t done too badly in the offence court, but defensively we haven’t been doing what’s required at this level.”
Any improved defensive focus will be tested. Maree have won their last two games — against UCC Demons away and at home to UCD Marian last weekend — and their shooting outside the perimeter has been exemplary.
The biggest attendance of the weekend will be at the Tralee Sports complex tomorrow when Garvey’s Tralee Warriors host Belfast Star. The Kerry side will be in determined mood, having been beaten by Killester last weekend.
Kieran Donaghy had his best game of the season at Killester, but Paul Dick didn’t put in a good shift against his former club.
The Northerners are revolutionised this season, with new coach Adrian Fulton having three professionals at his disposal. But it has been the introduction of younger players, including his son CJ, that’s made them a force to be reckoned with.
Fulton said: “We are happy the way things are going this season, but it’s early days to be making predictions and we know this game will give us a good indication of our progress.”
UCC Demons were buoyant after their win over leaders Templeogue, but they face another tough task in the capital tomorrow when they meet in-form Griffith College Swords Thunder.
Demons captain and October player of the month Kyle Hosford is carrying a knock, but he should be ready to lead his team.
UCD Marian have begun the season sluggishly and, after last week’s defeat to Maree, they will be hoping for a major improvement for the visit of Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin.
Templeogue will also be hoping to bounce back when they entertain fellow Dublin side DCU Saints, with American Dee Proby expected to return after missing out on their defeat to UCC Demons.
Pyrobel Killester produced their best basketball of the season last weekend and they should continue their winning ways when they play Moycullen at Clontarf.
The big game in the Women’s Super League will be at Leixlip tomorrow, when Courtyard Liffey Celtics host DCU Saints.
Unbeaten UCC Glanmire welcome back Louise Scannell for the visit to IT Carlow, while the Cork derby on Sunday between Singletons Supervalu Brunell and Fr Mathews should attract a large attendance to Gurranabraher.