Scannell: We can’t afford to lose

Neptune coach Mark Scannell

UL Eagles and Bord Gais Neptune top the bill on an exciting weekend of men’s Premier League clashes following last week’s National Cup drama.

Neptune will host the defending champions with coach Mark Scannell aware that a third defeat of the campaign could see his side’s title aspirations dwindle.

“We have already lost to the top two sides, Killester and UCC Demons, so I think another loss would hurt us big time,” Scannell said.

Neptune ended a 21-year drought in the National Cup last season and Scannell believes his squad is now stronger. “Our team is still a work in progress but we are getting there with many young players coming through the club programme,” he added.

Eagles boss Mark Keenan was very disappointed his side were eliminated from the cup but the loss of star point guard Scott Kinnevane — highly doubtful for this game — did not help their cause.

“We are struggling with a number of injuries and it will be a big test of our character,” he said.

Joint leaders Killester will be confident when they visit Inchicore for a clash with Templeogue. The Clontarf side are the form team in the league and their Dublin opponents could be in for a torrid evening.

Moycullen were demolished in the cup by Neptune but they will be hoping for a change of fortune for the visit of Dublin Inter.

Inter shocked UL Eagles in the cup, winning after three periods of extra-time, and coach Saranas Cesnakauskas is hoping his side continue their recent hot streak.

“We had to battle hard to get over UL but I am now in a happier place knowing my team is getting up to speed with the pace of the Premier League,” Cesnakauskas said.

There was a contrasting mood in the UCD Marian camp following their last-gasp cup exit to UCC Demons and captain Conor Meany is hoping his team reproduce that kind of form when they visit DCU Saints.

“I think we all lost a few nights’ sleep thinking about Shane Coughan’s buzzer-beater three-pointer but we have got to move on, and a good performance against DCU Saints could kick-start our season,” he said.

C&S UCC Demons will be on full alert when travelling north on Sunday to play Belfast Star. Shane Coughlan was Demons’ hero last weekend and the veteran is hoping his side also get back to winning ways in the league.

“Forget the three-pointer, that chapter is closed and now we have a crucial game on Sunday against Belfast Star, who will make things difficult for us if we are not tuned in,” he said.

The big game on Sunday in the Women’s Premier League will see Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell, the only unbeaten team left, entertain champions UL Huskies, with the Limerick side’s shock home defeat to Killester still fresh in their minds.


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