With just a few hours to the Men,s Superlegue Final the changing nature of perception sees Neptune available at 6/4 from yesterdays price of 2/5 (paddypower) which is great value really given the fact the teams are closely matched despite U.l. having effectively 2 import players to Neptune,s 1.Seeing courtside both teams winning their respective semi finals 2 weeks back it strikes me that the winner will come from the team that is quickest to react to game situations despite the effort it will take in terms of preparation regarding game strategy. Both teams are likely to come out with all guns blazing in an effort to impress early on and both teams are capable of maintaining an up tempo game for at least the first half.Here,s the rub though and it,s a pattern I have witnessed time out of number at this level. When players become more and more fatigued composure, concentration and confidence levels tend to drop to significant enough a level to make it a game decider.U.L. have in Robert Taylor a guard capable of playing the 1, 2 or even the 3 position to equal effect and his performance can be the key to U.L.,s success / failure tonight if he hits 25 + points I see it as being a very difficult game for Neptune given the solid contribution Jason Killeen provides in 8 out of 10 games for the U.l. team. Outside of Taylor and Killeen U.l. can go to about 7 mabey 8 deep without conceding appreciably at either end and this too can impact as both Killeen and Taylor are close to being pin of the collar guys who do benefit from a few minutes rest here and there when it,s ok to do this.What Neptune need to watch out for too though is that when they focus on (coach strategy) who can hurt them most they do not well enough in my opinion play team defence at a level where players who normally do not score a lot of points can still be stopped.Scott Kinevane too for Limerick can hurt Neptune as much as Taylor or Killeen (Killeen particularly with rebounding at both ends and expect too a minimum of 8 points on putbacks alone). Neptune are riding a roller coaster at the minute at least in the Win / Loss column though again in terms of having a reliable offence / defensive pattern to their play tend to adopt the approach that simply by attempting to be as consistent as they can that they stand a good chance of getting enough runs to be in contention in the final quarter and hope to win.This approach / philosophy works to an extent as the team has enough players capable of hitting 15 / 20 p.p.g. on any given night.Michael Mc Ginn, Gerard Noonan, Gary Walsh and Ian Mc Loughlin all guard /forwards and all capable too of making solid contributions to Neptune,s quick breaking offensive game that,s of course if Neptune can do enough on their own boards to initiate quick breaks.Responsibility for defensive rebounds will fall on Darren Townes shoulders to some extent at both ends a factor too thats significant will be how Limerick match up with him without him causing foul trouble for Limerick that impacts the game as sometimes happens with either Taylor or Killeen.The game itself though will probably come down to who tops the shooting percentage at the final whistle with Limerick quite capable of matching or even exceeding Neptune in the quick break points tally.There,s a lot riding on this particular cup final with should Limerick win it the accompanying acknowledgement that now for once the County is legitimately carving out a niche for itself in the annals of the game here and for Neptune an opportunity to gain some semblance of respectively given the poor results of recent years.Best of luck to both teams tonight. ....................................................................................................................................
Basketball Ireland Weekend Preview
The scramble for tickets for this Friday nights SuperLeague Cup Finals is well and truly on after Basketball Ireland announced mid-week that the games had sold out.
Fortunately for fans left out in the cold Setanta Ireland will be broadcasting both finals live from 6.30pm as first UL Huskies and Team Montenotte vie for the womens crown before UL Eagles and Bord Gais Neptune play for the mens title.
For the teams involved, the build-up to a cup final is a tricky balance between enjoying the moment and trying to prepare for we what is still just a game of basketball.
Team Montenotte Hotel Coach Andrea Congreaves played in the WNBA and is an old pro at preparing for big, televised games.
There is huge excitement within the club. This is something that we have been talking about since I arrived here, making it to a cup final and with our U18s playing in the cup final on Saturday, the whole club is excited and proud of where we are, said Congreaves.
Yes of course there are nerves but preparations are going well. We have an experienced bunch of girls and we are getting ready like we would any other game.
Montenotte and UL met once already this season with the ladies from Glanmire in Cork coming out victorious by 13 points.
That game against UL was a certain type of game but Fridays will be different, maintained Congreaves.
They will have a new game-plan after losing to us and we will have a different approach too.
For James Weldon, head coach of UL Huskies, the fact that his side are defending champions doesnt do much to lessen the nerves.
These opportunities dont come along very often and the players know that. The girls are really eager to try and make it two in a row.
Experience does count however, and after getting the monkey off our back last year by winning the cup, Weldon hopes that some of the pressure is lifted.
Im sure everyone will be nervous come Friday but we do have the experience of last year. We know that well have to play really well to win and we have to hope that we can produce that level of performance Friday.
The Mens SuperLeague Cup Final features the rising tide that is UL Eagles, winners last year of only their second ever SuperLeague Cup, against the previous giant of Irish basketball, Bord Gais Neptune, winners of four cups but none since 1992.
A gap of over 20 years between cups would have been inconceivable for Neptune fans in 1992 after their golden generation had secured their third title in five years.
Missed opportunities have dominated the clubs recent past however and current head coach Mark Scannell will be eager to make sure 2013 is not another.
Its brilliant for all the kids in the club, all the coaches and people on committees who have been putting in the work to get us to a position where we are back in a cup final, said Scannell whose club Neptune last won a senior title in 2003 when they captured the SuperLeague crown.
My job, and the teams job, is to put in a performance that all those people can be proud of and hopefully we perform to our ability Friday night.
We are on a good run of form recently and I have been hugely impressed with how we have turned it around defensively as the season has gone on.
We all know the UL danger men and we just have to try and contain them and give them some looks that make them think. Its not rocket science but it can be hard to do, said Scannell.
With both Neptune and Montenotte in the final there has been a huge build up Leeside, something Scannell is conscious of trying to shield his team from.
Weve just been trying to keep a lid on all the ancillary stuff and keep the team in a bubble somewhat. Its not easy on a week like this.
Scannells opponent on Friday night is the vastly experienced Mark Keenan. However, with a game of this magnitude brewing, even Keenan feels the pressure.
No matter how many times you have been there you get the nerves. Im sure come Friday night Ill start feeling them, as I have done every time.
Keenans team have also been there and dealt with those nerves, winning the cup last year in a highly anticipated match-up with UCC Demons.
We do have that experience to call on and maybe that helps us as the game stretches on. They have been in big games too though. Neptune were in the league final two seasons ago and even though they have young players, they have been in a lot of big games for their age.
While Keenan listed Neptunes Darren Townes, Gary Walsh, Michael McGinn and Ian McLoughlin all as guys who could hurt Eagles, he singled out the Cork sides captain Ger Noonan as worthy of special attention.
Ger had a great game for the SuperLeague Select team that beat the British team in Birmingham a couple of weeks back and we cannot allow him dictate the game by getting the ball where he wants it.
Of course, the action does not stop Friday night as Saturday and Sunday sees the U18 and U20 Mens and Womens National Cups as well as the two Senior National cups for all non-SuperLeague clubs.
There are some fantastic matchups with teams from all four provinces competing over the two days.
Courtesy .... Cian Nihill....www.basketballireland.ie Robert Taylor (188-G-83, college: Rider)
Colin O'Reilly (ex UCC Demons) takes over Cheshire Phoenix - 7 days ago
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Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Unit... [read more]
Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year.
32-year old coach Colin O'Reilly left C&S UCC Demons Cork (Premier League). He helped them to win the league title. It was a very successful season in his career as he was awarded Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Ireland [read more]
32-year old coach Colin O'Reilly left C&S UCC Demons Cork (Premier League). He helped them to win the league title. It was a very successful season in his career as he was awarded Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year.
Irish U20 National Team 2016 Blount Coombes Flood Gilligan Neary Gary Barron KUBS Jordan Blount198-G-97Ill.-Chicago Graham Brannelly DCU Saints Charlie Coombes190-G-96SE Oklahoma Kyle Cunningham Moycullen Sean Flood188-PG-96Templeogue Conor Gilligan185-F-96DCU Saints Christian Healy Eoghan Kiernan208-C-96Killester Martin Neary193-F-97DCU Saints Stephen O'Hanlon174-PG-97High School Diarmuid O'Shea201-F-96UL Eagles Joseph Tummon204-F/C-97Moycullen Aaron... [read more]
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