Irish international Conor Grace underwent surgery last weekend on his finger and is a major doubt for next week’s cup final against Swords Thunder.
“Barring a miracle, we are in a race against time to get Conor fit, as he suffered a serious injury to his finger but we will live in hope as he is an integral part of our squad,” coach Mark Keenan said.
The prognosis on American Michael Bonaparte is a little better, with Keenan hoping he will be ready to play.
“Michael continues with his treatment and it’s a case of hoping for the best he makes the final,” added Keenan who will not relish taking his team to Galway tomorrow where they will face Moycullen in the Men’s Premier League. The last time these teams clashed in the National Cup final quarter-final, three players were sent off and no doubt Moycullen coach Nollaig Cunningham will be looking forward to gaining revenge.
The big game of the weekend will see UCD Marian welcoming cup finalists Swords Thunder to Belfield.
The students led C&S UCC Demons for three-quarters of last Sunday’s league clash and coach Ioannis Liapkis believes this is a crucial game for both.
“The bottom line is both sides are going for fourth place and the loser will be struggling to make the top four,” said Ioannis.
The Greek-born coach believes his team played very well against UCC Demons but dropped their guard for three minutes in the final quarter that ultimately cost them.
“We played smart basketball against Demons and, if we can produce a similar performance against Swords , it should be an interesting game,” added Liapakis.
Eanna are finding life difficult in the fast lane of their debut season in the Men’s Premier League and will be tested when they host DCU Saints at Rathfarnham.
UL Eagles were shock away winners over Belfast Star and no doubt coach Paul Kelleher will be hoping to get one over on his former club C&S UCC Demons when the sides clash at the UL Arena on Sunday.
Demons produced a solid display to defeat UCD Marian in the battle of the colours last weekend and co captain Ciaran O’Sullivan is confident his team can continue to improve.
“We were steady without excelling but I thought we played reasonably good basketball against a very solid UCD side,” O’Sullivan said.
Demons are presently without player coach Colin O’Reilly and Niall Murphy through injury but they should have too much for a UL side they have already defeated three times this season.
In the Women’s Premier League, leaders DCU Mercy travel to play Portlaoise Panthers with coach Mark Ingle buoyant after his team’s win over (Glanmire’s) Team Montenotte.
“We are a side in transition and all we can do is concentrate on what we do best and hopefully continue to win basketball games,” Ingle said.
Cup finalists Glanmire and Killester are both involved with Killester hosting in-form Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell.
Brunell have already defeated Killester this season and coach Kieran O’Leary believes his side will give their Dublin opponents plenty to think about.
“We defeated Killester away last season and have taken maximum points from them in Cork in this campaign so I see no reason to have any fear going into this game,” Kieran said.
Glanmire played poorly in their defeat to DCU Mercy and coach Mark Scannell is demanding huge improvement when his side host Liffey Celtics. American Chantell Alford, who suffered an eye injury that necessitated hospital treatment, is expected to return as Scannell gets ready for what he terms as a crucial game.
“We need to play smartly as we are a week away from a cup final and hopefully we can bounce back from our defeat to DCU Mercy,” he said.
Men’s Premier League: Eanna v DCU Saints, Rathfarnham, 5pm; UCD Marian v GCD Swords Thunder, Belfield, 7pm; Templeogue v Moycullen, Inchicore, 7.30pm; Pyrobel Killester v Belfast Star, Clontarf, 8pm.
Team Montenotte Hotel v Courtyard Liffey Celtics, Upper Glanmire SC, 5pm; Pyrobel Killester v Singleton SuperValu Brunell, Clontarf, 8pm; Portlaoise Panthers v DCU Mercy, St. Mary’s Sports Hall, Portlaoise, 7pm; UL Huskies v Maxol WIT Wildcats, UL Arena, 5.30pm.
ITC Basketball v C&S Blue Demons, Barrow Centre, 3.30pm; Team Kilkenny v BFG Neptune, Kilkenny, 7pm; Fr Mathews v Titans, Críost Rí, Cork, 7.15pm; Maree v Killorglin, Oranmore, 7.45pm; KUBS v Kestrels, Carroll Arena, Greendale, 8pm.
ITC Basketball v Fr Mathews, Barrow Centre, IT Carlow, 1pm; Longford Falcons v Ulster Rockets, Longford Sports & Leisure Centre, 5pm; St Mary’s v Garvey’s Tralee, Castleisland CC, 7.30pm.
UL Eagles v C&S UCC Demons, UL Arena, Limerick, 3pm.
Fr Mathews v Ulster Rockets, Críost Rí, Cork, 12pm; Oblate Dynamos v NUIG Mystics, Oblate Hall, Inchicore, 1.30pm