UCC Demons ended their Belfield hoodoo in style by trouncing UCD Marian 104-64 in the men’s Premier League on Saturday.
Over the years various Demons sides have struggled to win at the Dublin venue but, according to player-coach Colin O’Reilly, this game was all about total focus over 40 minutes.
“We have been playing well all season but for some strange reason we seem to drop our intensity at certain stages, but this was as good as I have witnessed in this campaign,” said O’Reilly.
Demons can now prepare for Friday’s mouth-watering National Cup semi-final against Killester in full knowledge they will be ready for battle.
“We needed a good performance this evening and now we can start tomorrow and prepare for what will be a true test of our character against Killester,” added O’Reilly.
Killester are also in a rich vein of form and showed no mercy to fellow National Cup semi-finalists Dublin Inter, demolishing them 85-55.
The first half was evenly matched, with Killester commanding a 39-33-interval lead, but superb defence saw the Clontarf side restrict their opponents to 22 points in the second half.
Bord Gáis Neptune recovered from their humiliating 40-point defeat by DCU Saints last week to edge out Belfast Star 86-84 at the Neptune Stadium.
Star led for threequarters of the game but a late rally and a 30-point contribution from Darren Townes saw the Cork side hold out for a hard-earned win.
Neptune coach Mark Scannell was back at the helm following the death of his father and praised his players’ attitude.
“When you suffer a 40-point loss it can work in different ways but credit to the players they battled hard and got their just reward,” Scannell said.
Defending champions UL Eagles also got back to winning ways when easily disposing of basement side Moycullen 71-50 at the NUIG.
There was a huge upset in the women’s Premier League when defending champions UL Huskies were defeated 90-80 at home by Team Montenotte.
In one of the best games of the season the Shannonsiders led 46-40 at the interval. The tempo increased in the third quarter but a late Claire Rockall basket tied the game at 67 points each entering the final quarter. Defence played a major part in Montenotte’s win as they restricted UL to 13 points coming down the stretch as coach Paul Kelleher lauded the character of his side.
“When Killester defeated us recently many questions were asked of my side but we have worked as a unit to put things right and this win will give us huge confidence.”
The mood in the UL camp was muted but coach James Weldon was not negative.
“It was a privilege to coach in such a wonderful game of basketball and credit to Montenotte, although the 10-point win will flatter them, it was a very professional performance particularly in the final quarter,” Weldon said.
The new outright leaders of the women’s Premier League are DCU Mercy, who easily accounted for Ulster Rockets 77-36 with Sarah Woods chipping in with 25 points. Killester’s progress in the league continued as they accounted for Liffey Celtics, 62-51.
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