Swords seek Star repeat to keep title hopes alive

After the excitement of National Cup, it’s back to Premier league action this weekend, with Belfast Star and Travelodge Swords Thunder topping the bill.

Swords seek Star repeat to keep title hopes alive

This is the third time the sides have met this season, with Star defeating the Dublin outfit by 10 points in the first leg only for Swords to eliminate them last week with a 12-point win.

Swords are the only team putting up a stern challenge to C&S UCC Demons in the Premier League and coach Dave Baker believes this is a crucial game if they intend to be serious title challengers.

Baker said: “We have only lost one game and that was away to UCC Demons and we need to keep pressure on them before we play them at home.

“Star are a talented side. We were pushed all the way to defeat them in the cup and I have no doubt the character of my side will be tested.”

The mood in the Star camp is positive despite their cup exit as coach Neil McCotter hopes his side responds by getting back to winning ways.

“I think inexperience caught us last weekend but we just have to park that game and make sure we are ready for what should be a very tricky home fixture,” said McCotter.

Leaders Demons travel to play Dublin Inter at the National Arena with ace shooter Ciaran O’Sullivan confident his side can remain top.

O’Sullivan said: “Dublin Inter can be dangerous if you allow them clean looks and I am sure we will approach this game with a high tempo basketball plan.”

BFG Neptune player-coach Ger Noonan was disappointed with last week’s cup exit at the hands of UCD Marian and they will get a chance to avenge that defeat when they play the same opponents at the Neptune Stadium on Sunday.

American Nigel Byam left the club this week by mutual consent and Noonan is demanding a response from his players. “We let a lot of people down with our performance against UCD Marian and now is the opportunity for my players to prove they have the bottle for the battle.”

The big game in the Women’s Premier league will see Team Montenotte host DCU Mercy in a dress rehearsal of their forthcoming National Cup semi-final. Glanmire were disappointing in defeat to Cork rivals Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell in the second leg cup clash and coach Mark Scannell is demanding an immediate response.

Scannell said: “As a team we collectively failed against Brunell last week but one defeat doesn’t make us a bad team and we have tried hard to erase the errors before this game.”

The mood in the DCU Mercy camp is positive but coach Mark Ingle believes the true quality of both teams will be kept under wraps in this game. “With the cup semi final looming I am certain as a team we will not be showing our full hand and knowing Mark Scannell, he will be keeping his plans under the radar for now,” Ingle said.

Killester were impressive last week when defeating Liffey Celtics by 18 points in their second leg National Cup clash, but the visit of Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell is sure to have them on full alert.

Brunell shocked a lot of people when defeating Team Montenotte and coach Kieran O’Leary is expecting another big performance.

O’Leary said: “I have told my players the win over Montenotte will mean nothing if we fail to get a win from against Killester.”

* Brunell’s 17-year-old ace Edel Thornton is likely to take up a scholarship at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut next autumn.

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