Neptune will bring no Cup baggage, insists Fitzgerald

NEPTUNE will bring no Cup baggage into tonight’s big ESB Superleague clash against deadly local rivals Mardyke UCC Demons, Gordon Fitzgerald insisted last night.

"The Cup is finished. Demons have the Cup. This is all about league points and we need them," Fitzgerald maintained ahead of tonight's clash at The Mardyke Arena (8.15pm).

"Last weekend we lost to Tralee without Dave Langrell and we can't afford any more losses. Of course there is always going to be the derby aspect and the passion that goes into games between ourselves and Demons."

"Earlier in the season we beat them at the Mardyke Arena but they were not exactly happy with their American and Dave Langrell played out of his skin that night."

"Then they came back and beat us in Neptune Stadium so it could be a very important victory for whoever wins this one if it was to come down to a three way tie for the play-offs."

Neptune, the defending champions, are hoping Langrell suits up tonight. "We would hope that he will be fully fit for this one. I know he did not take a full part in last night's training session but that was more precautionary than anything else," Gordon Fitzgerald said. "We are lucky in that Marcus Wally is playing very well at the moment and if Charron Watson and Kenny Gamble play to their potential then this is a game we can win. It is a huge game in terms of league points."

Pat Price, the Mardyke UCC Demons Coach, has put away the spoils of the Cup weekend, literally and metaphorically, for this Cork derby.

"It's such a huge game," he said.

"We have three teams vying for two spots so it is going to be tough enough."

"We have a hectic schedule coming up. On Sunday we travel to Dublin to play Shamrock Rovers. We have more games than anyone else and that could work for or against us. The important thing is that we win our home games. We have a difficult stretch."

"We have had our celebrations so it is important that we collectively turn over the page because the fact that we won the cup means nothing to the teams that are trying to beat us. In fact, it gives them more drive to beat us. That is why it is so important that we stay focused."

BurgerKing Limerick would appear to be attempting the impossible when they bid to wrest a couple of points off Horans Healthstore Tigers in Tralee tomorrow night.

"This is one of our most important games of the season," Limerick Coach, Tom Hehir, said. "It is a game we would like to win because we have big games against Neptune and Gleneagle Lakers coming up. I am only hoping it won't be as important to Tralee as it is to us."

If Burgerking advance to the play-off stages, Hehir can look back with satisfaction on a season littered with problems.

"We got to the semi-finals of the cup and if we can make a run with the last five games in the league I would say our season has been a success," he said. "It would be nice to be able to say we had a part to play in deciding the outcome of the league as well.

"I am hoping for a big game from Randy Fletcher. It is overdue now. And young Liam Farrell had an exciting third quarter against Waterford last weekend. Tralee have a lot of stars in their side and if one does not perform the other will step up while we are depending entirely on a team performance like the first half of the cup semi-final."

The chase for the third place in the play-off stages of the North Conference is also hotting up with Hibernian UCD Marian and Shamrock Rovers going into battle this weekend while St Vincent's, also in contention, facing Dart Killester tomorrow night.

Vincent's suffered a shock loss to Shamrock Rovers last weekend while Killester suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Marian.

MDS Star have a place in the play-offs secured and they entertain Marian this weekend and with Kenny McFarland on fire, the visitors could be on for another upset.

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