C & S Neptune rolled back the years to inflict an 88-71 defeat on Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin to get their Men’s Super League campaign off to a perfect start on Saturday night.
It has been some turnaround for the Cork club: Neptune were relegated last season but managed to regain their spot in the top flight due to the withdrawal of UCC Demons. Former coach Paul Kelleher then stepped down and was replaced by Lehmon Colbert.
The signing of Spanish ace Nil Sabata looks a shrewd one by Colbert while American victory scholar Peter Hoffman also shone in the impressive win. Neptune surged into a 55-30 interval lead and Colbert was delighted with his side.
Colbert said: “We were superb in the first half and although our intensity dropped in the second, we never looked in any danger of losing.”
The big shock happened in Belfast where Belfast Star overcame a highly-rated Griffith College Templeogue in a thriller. Templeogue looked set for victory when the outstanding Lorcan Murphy (34 points) nailed a three-pointer for a 80-74 lead with seconds remaining.
But three-pointers from American Keelan Cairns and CJ Fulton forced the game into overtime. Thereafter Star took control with American Delaney Blacklock leading the way for a sensational 94-92 win. Star coach Adrian Fulton said: “That was a great advert for our sport with two committed sides giving their all but thankfully we showed our resilience.”
In a night of shocks, champions Garvey’s Tralee Warriors lost at home 73-72 to UCD Marian. The hosts looked comfortable at the break when leading 43-30. But UCD took charge in the third, restricting Warriors to a mere nine points as they edged into a 56-52 lead. The drama was far from over though, as the fourth quarter delivered a nail-biting finish with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions.
With just under a minute to go, a free-throw from UCD’s Barry Drumm saw the score at 72-71 in favour of Tralee. Drumm was on hand again moments later though to float home the winning score and see Marian win out by one, 72-73.
UCD Marian coach Ioannis Liapakis praised his troops: “It was a good defensive game and credit to my guys they showed huge resilience in the second half and that helped us edge it at the death.”
Killester, despite being without Kieran O’Brien, Michael Westbrooks and Johnny Behan still managed to win their Dublin derby away to DCU Saints (83-75). Isaac Westbrooks hit 24 points for the winners with Mike Bonapare claiming 22 for the Saints.
The battle of the two newly promoted sides Abbey Seals Dublin Lions and Eanna went to the latter as they had a comfortable 76-54 win with Stefan Zecevic leading their scoring charts with a 24-point contribution.
The Galway bragging rights went to Maree against Moycullen with the Oranmore side winning 70-58. In a low scoring first half Maree inspired by American Darin Johnson commanded a 34-22 lead.