It,s Cup Time at Neptune tonight at least it,s Semi Final time with Neptune pitted in the earlier game at 1900 against local Cork City arch rivals Blue Demons and U.L. Eagles of Limerick matched up in the second semi with UCD Marian (Dublin) tip off at 21.00.The current super league standings are a fair reflection of all teams performances to date with Demons sitting pretty atop the league at 11-2 . U.L. hot on their heels at 11-3 . Neptune in 3rd spot with 9-5 and UCD Marian in last place in the 8 team league at 3-10.The two matchups to date saw Demons come out on top in the October (12) game 74/72 and the December (28) game 68/66 which gives credence to most pundits acceptance that tonight it can go either way with only a hop of the ball between the teams.The skinny on the teams certainly at this stage give Demons a decided advantage in terms of having the highest player numbers winningest advantage in Irish basketball over the past few years with Demons having Shane Coughlan , Niall Murphy, Carlton Cuffe, and Niall O Reilly all with the highest numbers in terms of trophies won.The reverse of the coin though points to a group who when they are ahead and the more they are ahead the more likely they are to let things slip again.Neptune for their part will rely heavily on warrior Ger Noonan and the super quick Michael Mc Ginn both at the guard spots to come through big tonight along with Ian Mc Loughlin who if the shots drop for him as they have been of late can become a deciding factor. On the import side of things the matchups are pretty even also with Demons replacement mid way through the current campaign for Delwan Graham,Kenton Walker (22.2 p.p.g.) squaring up to Neptune,s Daren Townes.Though both players are playing as forwards quite often they will one way or another find themselves operating at post position.Walker has the advantage in terms of power and strength though Townes is a little quicker physically with the ability to create his own shot.
Game 2 despite UCD Marian,s lowly superleague stance will be inherently intresting with what it may throw up with both coaching and player change to the forefront in recent weeks.Fran Ryan is back replacing Sasa Punosevac at coach and on the floor Thomas Vigilianco replacing John Galvin despite his credible 21.2 p.p.g. average.Eagles on the other hand have a running scare going at the minute on the fitness of the excellent Robert Taylor (20.9 p.p.g.) and they will need Taylor at at least 80 per cent fitness to be assured of going through.Jason Killeen for Eagles (16.2) is the most influential big man in the superleague to date and quite often exerts an presence that all opponents are aware of. Scott Kinevane too for Eagles is vying for that top point guard mantle nationally and a major contributor for Eagles when the going gets tough. Marian will rely heavily on both guard Conor Meany and forward Kevin Foley to score points and play committed defence to have a chance to get through and position themselves for a crack at defending their Cup win of last season. To call it at the stadium tonight I see Demons coming through by a point and Eagles soaring to a 12 point win. Shane Coughlan (188-G-79)
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 - 15 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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