UL Eagles coach Mark Keenan has experienced the ups and downs inSuperLeague basketball during his distinguished career and tonight he is hoping to add to his impeccable record when his side face DCU Saints in the men’s final.
Last season, Keenan led Killester to the SuperLeague title, as well as the elusive treble in 2010, but was sensationally sacked last summer.
Widely respected in the sport, Keenan recharged his batteries and was offered the UL Eagles job in the summer and so far he has guided them to a national cup title.
“What happened at Killester was disappointing but I have put that chapter in my life well behind me and now I am solely concentrating on helping UL win a SuperLeague championship,” Keenan said.
“I enjoyed my years with Killester and was lucky to be involved with some great players but now I amenjoying life to the full in my capacity with UL Eagles.”
In their three regular season league games against DCU Saints, the Shannonsiders won two but coach Mark Keenan believes one-off games in previous results count for nothing.
“UCC Demons defeated us three times in the regular season but luckily we defeated them in the national cup final and last Sunday got over them in the SuperLeague semi-final play-off,” Keenan said.
“The bottom line is that we are facing a very good side that will pose us lots of problems if we are not ready to battle from start to finish. Saints are an exceptional team when on song and this final could be decided by the team that makes the least amount of errors over the 40 minutes.”
The mood in the DCU camp is one of caution as they have not been involved in a major final for six years but coach David Donnelly is happy with his teams preparations.
“UL Eagles are going into the final on the back of two good away wins over Killester and UCC Demons so we will have to be at our very best to compete with them,” David said.
“The last time we played them in Limerick they took us to the cleaners and a repeat performance will see us blown out again. We have worked hard on the errors that made us play so bad in our last game and now it’s a case of sticking with our plan to stop UL’s various threats.
“Its nice for the many dedicated people at our club that we are back in the national final and lets hope we do not let them down.”
UL will be hoping to create history as they bid to become the first club since the inception of the SuperLeagues to complete the elusive double when they face Team Montenotte in the women’s final.
Unbeaten since December 2011, the Shannonsiders go into this with an unbeaten record in all competitions but coach James Weldon is warning his side against complacency.
“Team Montenotte showed in their semi-final win over DCU Mercy they are far from being a spent force and we will be giving them the respect they deserve,” Weldon said.
“In fact in our last two games against Montenotte they have led us at the interval and no doubt they have players that love the big stage. I am happy with the form of my own squad as they have great attitudes and it would be nice to complete the season with an unbeaten record.”
Team Montenotte were superb in their semi-final win over DCU Mercy and coach Cormac O’Donoghue is looking forward to this decider.
“This is where all coaches and players want to be and although no basketball pundit is giving us a chance of winning we will do our best to make it a competitive final,” O’Donoghue said.
“Over the years Montenotte have produced some wonderful teams but sadly many key players are no longer with the club and in my opinion it’s a great achievement for this squad to reach the SuperLeague final. I want my players to enjoy the occasion and, who knows, if UL forget we can still play basketball, it may be a closer game than people are predicting.”<
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