And Thunder coach Dave Baker is wary of an ambush: “We know the favourites tag going into a Cup game can sometimes go against the grain and DCU Saints usually come up with a big game or two on an annual basis.
“The joy we got from winning this championship last season is one I will never forget and the players are determined to relive that memorable season.”
UCC Demons player-coach Colin O’Reilly is unlikely to feature away to a Kubs side who are without a league win from five starts.
Demons’ captain Kyle Hosford admits that “unless we are completely off the boil there is no reason to think why we shouldn’t win.”
The prize for the winners is a mouth-watering home quarter-final against Garvey’s Tralee Warriors.
Templelogue have a tough first round clash against Belfast Star while the big Galway derby between Moycullen and Maree should attract a capacity attendance to the NUIG. Moycullen coach John Cunningham admits this game will test the credentials of his side.
“Maree will be looking forward to this game and we have to be aware that anything can happen in 40 minutes of basketball if you don’t perform,” Cunningham said.
Meanwhile in the Women’s Super League Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell travel to play champions Liffey Celtics on the back of two consecutive wins.
Brunell have a fully fit squad as coach Francis O’Sullivan believes this game will gauge the progress of his side. O’Sullivan said: “We are in a better position than this time last season but when you are facing a quality side like Liffey Celtics your team must move up a level.”
Ambassador UCC Glanmire travel to NUIG Mystics with coach Mark Scannell hoping for another win on the road. Scannell said: “Every game is tough as we are the only team in the league with one American so we have to be consistently focused.”
Killester lost their two opening games but coach Karl Kilbride will be hoping Chantelle Alford can find her scoring touch when they host Portlaoise Panthers.