UL Eagles soared to the top of the Nivea for Mens Superleague table at the weekend with a comprehensive 84 to 59 win over old rivals Killester in Limerick.
They were quickly joined at the top by UCC Demons who overcame a depleted Dublin Inter side in Cork while there were also wins for UCD Marian, who scraped by a resilient Bord Gais Neptune outfit and DCU Saints who returned to winning ways with a good victory over Moycullen.
Speaking after the Killester Eagles game Saturday night, UL head coach Mark Keenan found it difficult to criticise any part of his teams performance in what turned out to be a resounding win.
We won all the battles really. It was a dominant performance. We got off to a great start and that set the mindset for the rest of the game. We blew the game open early and never really looked back, said Keenan.
The performance was much needed by Eagles, who despite winning the double last season, struggled in the early stages of that campaign. With the new league format this season abolishing playoffs, Eagles can ill-afford another poor pre-Christmas run of form.
A win such as Saturday night's over perennial contenders Killester should do a lot to raise the confidence in the defending champions camps following a shaky performance in the opener the week before where they were forced to overturn a big deficit to beat Bord Gais Neptune with a last second shot.
Unfortunately for Neptune, they were on the wrong side of another tight one Saturday night again, losing in a close affair away from home against UCD Marian. Tight throughout, Marian were able to find their shooting form when it mattered most to pull away by six points in the end, winning 70 to 64.
I thought we deserved to win the game. It was the second game in a row that we have played good defence and that is what I want this team to be based on, said Marian head coach Sasa Punosevac.
We didnt score a lot outside in the first half but in the final quarter we started to make some shots and that turned the game for us.
Meanwhile DCU Saints avoided a second surprise defeat in as many weeks by overturning a half time deficit at home against Moycullen to win comfortably 81 60.
Buoyed by the return of influential centre Martins Provisors, who missed week one with a broken cheekbone, Saints clamped down on Moycullen's early rhythm as the game entered the latter stages.
We took over in the second half. Moycullen played well in the first and caught us with a number of three pointers in transition as well as punishing us whenever we stuck a hand in, remarked Saints head coach Dave Donnelly.
At the break we stressed just honest defence and knuckled down. Martins back was a big factor and Mike Trimmer had a lot of success posting up for us.
A veteran of many campaigns, Trimmer managed to finish as top scorer with 18 points despite coming off the bench while fellow seasoned campaigner Pat Glover chipped in with 14.
Sundays sole game in the Nivea for Mens Superleague turned out to be somewhat less dramatic than many would have hoped as UCC Demons showed their class to clinically dispose of an under-strength Dublin Inter team 102 to 70.
After the game, Demons head coach Paul Kelleher praised his sides team work and ability to share to ball. Our decision making was very sharp and even though we started slow, when we did get going we punished them for not punishing us early on when they had their chances.
Nivea For Men's SuperLeague Results Saturday October 6th
DCU Saints 81, Moycullen 60;
UCD Marian 70, Bord Gais Neptune 64;
UL Eagles 84, Killester 59;
Basketball Ireland Men's Division One Results Saturday October 6th
Maree 111, Donegal Town 63;
MOF Chemists Titans 59, Templeogue 69;
Dublin Thunder 58, Team Left Bank Kilkenny 18;
Nivea For Men's SuperLeague Results Sunday October 7th
UCC Demons 102, Dublin Inter 70;
Basketball Ireland Men's Division One Results Sunday October 7th
Blue Demons 90, Ballon BC 65;
Team Left Bank Kilkenny 55, Fr Matthews 47
Cian Nihill www.basketballireland.ie
The Demons / Ballon game was essentially a one sided affair throughout in demons favour essentially with the quicker style of play adopted by demons being the difference.Ballon missing 2 regular starters however may prove a different proposition next time round.Carlton Cuffe returning to Demons this season brings in more firepower and solid defence.New to demons this season is the advantage players can have from being together since last season.New import player Graham proved successful in adapting his game to his new team though will need to step up when games become more difficult and he will be relied upon to score even more and rebound effectively as well.Graham,s minutes were somewhat restricted today a strategy coach Kelleher will need to be careful with in the future given players can get "cold" on the bench.Niall O Reilly,s shooting touch today was superb and he must surely be asked to be included in the upcoming International against England.For Ballon a difference in styles meant some difficulty offensively where putting the ball on the floor with the intention of a dribble drive to the basket and a subsequent "dish" to a teamate for a shot proved innefective with turnovers occurring as an outcome as the demons players are anticipating and saying to themselves "hey this guy,s not really a scoring threat in the way we are used to from regularly styled players".the more regular european competitions have this as a base strategy and often have guys acting as spot up shooters to capitalise on the penetration to the paing.Ballon today however failed to connect on enough of the shots this penetrate and dish strategy produced something which if the team works on effectively can be very productive. Aurimas Statkus (201-F/C-81)
32-year old Irish ex-international guard Donnie McGrath (193-90kg-84, college: Providence). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. McGrath played last season at Obradoiro in Spanish Liga Endesa. In 33 games he had 7.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 4.7apg. The previous (14-15) season he played at Krasny Oktyabr in Russian league where in 6 Eurocup games he recorded 11.2ppg, 2.7rpg and 5.3apg. McGrath also played 17 games in VTB United League where he avera... [read more]
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (LKL) signed 32-year old Irish ex-international guard Donnie McGrath (193-90kg-84, college: Providence). He is a dual citizen owning also American passport. McGrath played last season at Obradoiro in Spanish Liga Endesa. In 33 games he had 7.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 4.7apg. The previous (14-15) season he played at Krasny Oktyabr in Russian league where in 6 Eurocup games he recorded 11.2ppg, 2.7rpg and 5.3apg. McGrath also played 17 games in VTB United League where he averaged 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg and 4.6apg. The other team he played shortly was Anadolu Efes in Turkish league. In 5 Euroleague games he got 4.0ppg, 1.4rpg and 1.0apg. McGrath also spent pre-season at La ICL Manresa (also in Liga Endesa) that year. He was a member of Irish Senior National Team between 2006 and 2008. McGrath is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in France (Cholet Basket), Greece (PAOK Thessaloniki, AEK Athens and Egaleo), Italy (Openjobmetis VA, Verona and BancaTercas), Lithuania (Zalgiris) and Russia (Spartak St.Petersburg). McGrath attended Providence College until 2006 and it will be his eleventh (!!!) season as a professional player.
Ian O'Leary agreed terms with Fuenlabrada - 11 days ago
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30-year old American (has also Irish passport) forward Ian O'Leary (201-101kg-86, college: St.Mary's, CA) from Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias. In 34 Liga Endesa games in Spain he recorded 4.5ppg and 2.7rpg last season. The previous (14-15) season O'Leary played at Gran Canaria where in 26 Liga Endesa games he averaged 4.9ppg and 3.1rpg. He also played 20 games in Eurocup where he had 6.8ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.2apg. A... [read more]
Montakit Fuenlabrada (Liga Endesa) strengthened their roster with addition of 30-year old American (has also Irish passport) forward Ian O'Leary (201-101kg-86, college: St.Mary's, CA) from Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias. In 34 Liga Endesa games in Spain he recorded 4.5ppg and 2.7rpg last season. The previous (14-15) season O'Leary played at Gran Canaria where in 26 Liga Endesa games he averaged 4.9ppg and 3.1rpg. He also played 20 games in Eurocup where he had 6.8ppg, 3.0rpg and 1.2apg. Among other achievements O'Leary played in the final of WCC Tournament in 2009. He received also Eurobasket.com All-Spanish LEB Silver Forward of the Year award back in 2011. O'Leary has played previously for four other teams: Blancos de Rueda, Palencia Baloncesto, Vigo and Oviedo CB. He attended Saint Mary's College of California until 2009 and it will be his eighth season in pro basketball. The scouts decsribe him following way:
Overlooked somewhat at college but has blossomed in Europe. Strong going to the basket and has good athletic ability. Working on being more consistent outside the 3pt line but provides a real mis match for teams.
A very good athlete he is able to play several positions effectively because of a great mix of size and quickness. Rebounds like a center but runs like a guard. Very effective mid range jumper causes a lot of problems cause he is able to just shoot over top of most defenders. Can handle the ball and has no problem handling pressure and being a release valve for any backcourt. Aggressive offensive mind set makes him lead by example. At college played in a system to showcase NBA Draft choice Patrick Mills, but his performance in Europe will be very different as he will be allowed to show his complete game. Has very long arms and consistently tips and blocks shots from the backside and weak side. A very complete player is capable of playing at very high levels as he continues to develop. Shoots the deep ball quite well and is extending his range which for a player his size will make him deadly.
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