FOLLOWING back-to-back losses to Killester in the cup and SuperLeague Coach Tony Hehir wants UL Eagles to refocus on the target which is now the NIVEA for MEN SuperLeague.
Eagles did not know the meaning of defeat until the quarter-final of the National Cup when they lost to last year’s beaten finalists and then Killester rubbed salt into the wound when they crossed paths in the SuperLeague last weekend.
Over the coming days Eagles will have two opportunities to get back on track and the better of those will come tomorrow night when they hostMoycullen at the UL Arena before visiting Cork on Sunday to play UCC Demons at the Parochial Hall.
“We lost our first game in the league last weekend and obviously we want to get back to winning ways,” the UL coach Tony Hehir said yesterday.
“Moycullen are the first port of call and they are playing well coming off three wins in-a-row so it will be a big game for us and we won’t be taking anything for granted against them.
“On Sunday we travel down to UCC Demons who are playing greatbasketball at the moment and are one of the top teams in the league.
“We will need to travel with a winning attitude and I have beenstressing this all week in training. For us, both games are winnable but will require us to play at the top of our game to get the wins.”
Eagles’ cause will not be helped if they are without Glen Wong who is a major doubt while Scott Kinevane will face a late fitness test on a knee injury.
Moycullen may have struggled in the earlier rounds but right now they are enjoying a superb run of form and will make the trip to the UL Sports Arena on the back of three successive victories. “I hope our improvements continue as it will be a tough test,” Coach Enda Byrt said. “UL Eagles have played the best basketball in our conference so far.” UCC Demons will be hoping UL’s star Stuart Robbins and his colleagues will be suffering a small bit of fatigue by the time they make the trip to the Parochial Hall in Cork on Sunday.
“This will be a big test for our team,” Coach Luke D’Alessio said.
“The winner of this game will move into first place ahead of the holiday break.
“The Eagles have an excellent team with a terrific starting line-up.
“We need to defend Stu Robbins doggedly throughout the whole game, limiting his inside presence while, offensively, we must fast-break whenever possible, yet remain patient when in our half-court offensive set.
“This game is a great test for us. We will be ready to play.”
Since Belfast Star beat them at the start of the season nothing has gone right for Ulster Elks but Star’s coach, Danny Fulton, is hoping Elks won’t turn the tables when they cross-paths again over the weekend.
“We hope not,” he said. “They will put an end to this record and when they do I believe they will go a run because they have some fine players.
“We played very well for the first half away to Demons last weekend,” added Fulton.
“We missed chances galore after the re-start, but it was an improvedperformance and our new US player, Kevin Ratzsch, is doing extremely well.”
Killester can extend their lead at the top of the Northern Conference if they overcome the challenge of HOOPS who are at sixes and sevens at the moment although they will be without Michael Goj and Paddy Kelly through injury as well as long term absentees Kieran O’Brien and Eoin McDermott.
HOOPS have an injury worry over Nemanja Vukanic while Eoin Chubb won’t return for another month.
There is a thriller in store in the IrishSport.TV Women’s SuperLeague when UL meet Team Montenotte Hotel Cork in a top-of-the-table clash at UL Arena tomorrow night.
Seanie O’Regan’s Bausch & Lomb Wildcats are going through turbulent times and they have two games over the weekend when they entertain DCU Mercy tomorrow night and then play Sligo All Stars on Sunday afternoon.
Tolka will be hoping to avenge their cup defeat when they make the short trip to the Shoreline Leisure Centre to play Meteors while Killester, boosted by the return of Ali Maguire but still without Leesa Turner and Mimi Troy, have a chance to bounce back to winning ways at home to Sligo All Stars.
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