Heroic Noonan helps Neptune shoot down Star

GER NOONAN keeps rolling back the years and he did it again on Saturday night when he played the starring role as Bord Gáis Neptune confirmed the cup result was no fluke when they collected the valuable Nivea for Men SuperLeague points with a 99-96 win away to Belfast Star.

Neptune, who have a derby game with neighbours UCC Demons scheduled for the Mardyke Arena on Thursday night, would appear to be scraping through their recent games but victories don’t come easy and those wins are testament to their never-say-die character.

They were facing a Star side seeking revenge for their one point loss in the cup and Danny Fulton’s side arrived on court with all guns blazing. Neptune led by a point at half time and squeezed through once again thanks to a stellar performance from Noonan.

The experienced guard has been contributing week-in-week-out but his 34 points on Saturday night, just one shy of the game high from Star’s new American Joshua Johnson, highlighted his over-all impact.

“Ger was amazing for us,” insisted coach, Mark Scannell. “He got 34 points and was basically the only one doing it for us on the court for a while. But Ger is that kind of character. He’s been struggling with injuries this season, but when it comes to games he is always ready and gets the job done.

“He’s a fantastic player to have in your squad — a real leader. Ron Thomson has been struggling with an injury all week so we needed other people to step up. I got that from my players this weekend. In general there were so many positives for me to take away as a coach.”

DCU Saints got some vengeance for their cup loss from a comprehensive 93-78 victory over UCC Demons which was described by coach David Donnelly as a “psychological relief”.

“It wasn’t really about gaining revenge against UCC, but at the same time it was important for us to get the win over them,” he said. “The [cup] loss was very disappointing but the response and focus of the lads since has been very encouraging.”

And in terms of response, 11890 Killester, turned their previous result upside down when they defeated UL Eagles 80-60 to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Killester has been a problem team for Eagles over the past few seasons and things changed when Mark Keenan left Killester to take charge of the Limerick side and Eagles won their first meeting of the season but it was back to square one on Saturday night when Killester, now under Darren O’Neill, chalked up what could be a very important win in defence of their title.

“I think the focus the lads have will be very important,” coach O’Neill said. “We have to be confident about our chances of finishing top of our conference.

“We have a huge game against DCU Saints on December 29 which we need to win. Our performance against UL was very good. We cut out the mistakes and were relatively comfortable in the end.”

UCD Marian coach Fran Ryan is still hopeful of a play-off spot after his side showed promising signs of improvement in their 82-67 win over Moycullen.

“We were on a bit of a losing sequence so the win was important,” he said.

“We have been trying to rectify some of the problems and I think we are now doing that. I think we are good enough to get second spot.”

Team Montenotte Hotel hit the weekend’s top score of 107 points as they overwhelmed Liffey Celtics on Saturday before going on to defeat Munster rivals, Waterford Wildcats, 84-75 yesterday.

“We were excellent against Celtics,” their coach, Cormac O’Donoghue, insisted. “We built up a big lead at half time which gave us the opportunity to try new things in the second half.

“We knew Wildcats was going to be a very tough test. They can be excellent at home so I’m happy to come out of Waterford with a win.”

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