Unbeaten DCU Mercy face Fr Mathews - who have lost just one of their opening four fixtures - in the headline game of this weekend's Women's SuperLeague.
Mathews, the Champions Trophy champions, aim to defend their home court in style tomorrow evening and will look to the experience of Grainne Dwyer, Shannon Brady, and Chantell Alford to try end the table-toppers' winning run.
Mathews’ head coach, James Fleming said: “We have a young squad this year and have been happy with our progress so far. DCU are the team to beat, they have a squad full of internationals with a brilliant coach. We are up against it, and it will be nice to see how we are as a group."
Mercy have been hugely impressive in the opening weeks of the season with Americans Ashley Russell and Meredith Burkhall along with Rachel Huijsdens, Maeve Phelan, and Sarah Woods to the fore. Coach Mark Ingle stated: “We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing Fr Mathews in Cork. They have had a good start to the season and have an established side that have been together now for three years, while we have been integrating some new players into our set up and have been focused don trying to get better each week.
"It will be a very competitive game as both teams have strong inside games, so it will be a different challenge for the referees to get the calls right with two big teams going against each other."
One of the other big clashes of the weekend is the second meeting in as many weeks of Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics and Ambassador UCC Glanmire. The sides met last Saturday in Cork in the opening round of the Hula Hoops Cup where Glanmire dethroned the champions. Liffey Celtics were without the services of Sorcha Tiernan due to injury and will be hoping to reverse that result at home this weekend.
Pyrobel Killester will be fancied to defeat basement side IT Carlow at Clontarf while the game between WIT Wildcats and Maree could well go down to the wire at the Mercy Gym.
Meanwhile, Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell have announced the signing of American Treyanna Clay who played at Iona College.
Clay, a 6’0’ post player, will replace Tricia Byrne who quit the club last week to concentrate on work commitments. Coach Tim O’Halloran said: “We would like to thank Tricia for her dedication but it’s time to move on and we hope that Treyanna will give us the physicality at the post that we so badly need.”
Brunell are at home to Marble City Hawks this weekend.
Meanwhile, Coughlan C & S Neptune player-coach Lehmon Colbert wants his side to swiftly bounce back from Monday’s first defeat of the season at Griffith College Templeogue when they host Killester. Colbert will hope that Spanish ace Nil Sabata and victory scholar American Peter Hoffman bring a little more physicality to their game against the Dubliners while countering the threat posed by Isaac Westbrooks and Ciaran Roe will be crucial to their ambitions.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors are in a rich vein of form and bid to continue that at home to Moycullen while the only unbeaten side in the League, Eanna, will target a sixth consecutive win away to DCU Saints in a Dublin derby.
DCU Saints' coach Mark Kiernan admitted: “Eanna are not top of the table by accident and it will take a huge effort from my guys to halt their unbeaten run.”
Belfast Star welcomes UCD Marian to De La Salle College this weekend. Star introduced new American Ben Marello in their Cup win over Maree and coach Adrian Fulton is hoping his side can return to winning ways on their home court.
Friday: Women’s Division One: UL Huskies v Limerick Celtics, UL Arena-Limerick, 8.15pm.
Saturday: Men’s Super League: Abbey Seals Dublin Lions v Keanes Supervalu Killorglin, Colaiste Bride, 5.30pm; Coughlan CandS Neptune v Pyrobel Killester, Neptune Stadium, 7pm; DCU Saints v DBS Eanna, DCU Complex, 7pm; Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v Moycullen, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30pm; Belfast Star v UCD Marian, De La Salle, 8pm; Maree v Griffith College Templeogue, Calsanctius College, 8pm.
Women’s Super League: Fr Mathews v DCU Mercy, Fr Mathews Arena, 5pm; Pyrobel Killester v IT Carlow Basketball, IWA Clontarf, 6pm; Maxol WIT Wildcats v Maree, Mercy Gym, 7pm; Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics v Ambassador UCC Glanmire, Leixlip Amenities Centre, 7.15pm.
Men’s Division One: Limerick Sports Eagles v IT Carlow Basketball, PESS Building-UL-Limerick, 7pm; EJ Sligo All-Stars v Ulster University, Mercy College, 7.30pm; Scotts Lakers St Pauls Killarney v LYIT Donegal, Killarney, 7.30pm; Fr Mathews v Waterford Vikings, Fr Mathews Arena, 7.45pm; Portlaoise Panthers v Limerick Celtics, St Marys Sports Hall, 8pm.
Women’s Division One: Phoenix Rockets v Swords Thunder, Methodist College Belfast, 3.30pm; Griffith College Templeogue v Ulster University, Nord Anglia International School, 7pm.
Sunday: Women’s Super League: Singleton SuperValu Brunell v Marble City Hawks, Parochial Hall, 2.45pm.