In the last weekend of action in the Nivea For Mens SuperLeague before teams take a break for the cup there were tight but crucial wins for Cork sides UCC Demons and Bord Gais Neptune with UL Eagles and DCU Saints securing wins also.
In the Nivea Womens SuperLeague, Team Montenotte Hotel briefly moved to the top of the table Saturday night before a UL Huskies win on Sunday re-established the ladies from Limerick atop the table. There were wins also for DCU Mercy, Ulster Rockets and WIT Wildcats.
The most dramatic moment of the weekend occurred in Dublin Saturday night where UCD Marian were on the verge of a spectacular upset win against UCC Demons before Ciaran OSullivan converted a last second basket to steal victory for the Cork outfit.
Marian were playing without any American after deciding to part ways with John Galvin and came out playing like a team with nothing to lose, taking an early 13 point lead mid-way through the second quarter.
Demons edged their way back into the game however and going into the fourth quarter actually held a one point lead over the home side.
With the contest ebbing back and forth, Conor Meany was almost the hero for Marian, netting a huge basket with 23 seconds to go to give his team the lead. It was not to be however as Demons ran a smooth offensive that found Ciaran OSullivan an open driving lane which he attacked and got fouled as he scoring.
By converting the subsequent free throw for the three-point-play, OSullivan secured the win for Demons, improving them to 11 wins on the season.
The fact that they played with five guards caused us a lot of matchup problems, remarked Demons head coach Paul Kelleher afterwards.
They got a lot of easy penetrations against us and we let them out and run in transition. Eventually we tightened up and came back into it but they are a tough team to play and were delighted to get out of here with a win.
Meanwhile in Cork, Demons oldest rivals and opponents in this Fridays National Cup semi-final, Bord Gais Neptune, survived a tight game of their own against Dublin Inter.
Speaking after their 77 to 65 win, Neptune head coach Mark Scannell stressed that the double-digit gap was not reflective of the tight game.
Inter always play you tough. We held a small lead all game but we never managed to stretch it, not until the final minutes, he said.
They are dogged and they shot the ball extremely well. What turned it for us was the job our big guys did securing our boards, which was a great effort considering the size of the Inter fellas. It put Inter in foul trouble too.
It was a tight affair also in the DCU Sports Complex as DCU Saints edged out Killester in a low-scoring defensive battle 65 to 61.
It was a close one all the way throughout. Both teams played really good defence, said Saints head coach Dave Donnelly afterwards.
I was a little bit disappointed with out offensive execution and I thought we missed Martins (Provisors) a lot tonight.
When Saints needed it however, their veteran scorer Pat Glover was on hand and his clutch shooting down the stretch proved the difference between the teams in the end.
Pat came up with some huge shots at the end for us, even though he hadnt been making them all game, he got them when we needed them, said Donnelly.
In Galway defending champions UL Eagles rediscovered their winning form against Moycullen with a convincing 73 to 91 victory.
Central to the Limerick mens win was the play of inside centre Jason Killeen who caused consistent problems for the Moycullen defence that struggled to handle his size. Forced to send two and three players to contain him, Moycullen left open Eagles shooters that punished the home side throughout the contest.
A week ahead of their Cup semi-final matchup with UCD Marian, Eagles head coach Mar Keenan was delighted with his teams road win.
We definitely played with a greater intensity than we had in recent games and were very happy to leave Galway with a win. We let our concentration slip late in the game and let Moycullen back into it but overall very happy with how we played.
One concern for Keenan will be the health of star guard Robert Taylor who came up slightly limp after a drive to the basket late in the game.
Speaking afterwards Keenan said that it appeared to be just a slight knock and that the Eagles coaching staff would monitor Taylors progress over the coming week.
saw a big win for Ulster Rockets in Belfast as they prolonged Liffey Celtics winless start to the 2012-2013 season while DCU Mercy proved too strong for WIT Wildcats.
Saturday January 5th
Nivea For Men's SuperLeague
Moycullen 73 (45) (P Sullivan 34, S Camps 12, C Nihill 11) UL Eagles 91 (47) (J Killeen 21, S Kinnevane 16, M Hall 14)
Bord Gais Neptune 77 (36) (I Mcloughlin 23, D Townes 18, G Noonan 17) Dublin Inter 65 (33) (M Tamausaukas 21, A Statkus, 14 M Landus 11)
UCD Marian 77 (45) (C Meany 21, D James 21, K Foley 12) UCC Demons 78 (39) (K Walker 24, C Cuffe 15, C O'Sullivan 13)
DCU Saints 65 (33) C Grace 18, K Anderson 15, E Quill 9) Killester 61 (31) M Bonaparte 17, A Casey 12, M Westbrooks 12)
Basketball Ireland Men's Division One
Maree 99 (43) (K Hansberry 28, D Hansberry 17, J Brophy 15) Ballon BC 47 (18) (M Rubstavicius 13, D Shoyinka 6, D Demolition 6)
Templeogue Azzurri 72 (37 (I Gordon 21, T Swiatowy 11, P Taylor 8) Blue Demons 69 (36) (S McCarthy 26, R O'Neill 20, K Hosford 10)
Courtesy .... Cian Nihill ....www.basketballireland.ie Robert Taylor (188-G-83, college: Rider)
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 - 12 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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