As the final curtain falls on the Nivea For Mens SuperLeague, this weekend will see the last of the regular season games played out across the country.
In particular, DCU Saints will find themselves battling for the fourth position on the league table that will also guarantee them the final spot for a semi-final playoff for the elite Champions Trophy. Elsewhere in the Nivea For Mens SuperLeague top three teams will look to use this weekend as preparation for the new competition while others look to finish the 2012-2013 season on a high.
The action will start tonight in the Nivea Mens SuperLeague when DCU Saints welcome Dublin Inter to Glasnevin. Both teams are one-a-piece going into the clash so all is to play for.
Speaking about his side, head coach of DCU Saints, David Donnelly, said, We have been in good form recently, winning both of our last two games on the bounce.
Inter have been shooting very well lately so we know we need to close down their guards on the perimeter. The last game went into over-time too so we need a big performance tonight.
Dublin Inters head coach, Irmantas Griskas understands how close this contest will be, There is nothing between both teams. DCU are probably our biggest rivals so I know we may enter the game a little nervous but we are determined to prove that we can take them.
Moving into the weekend both teams will take to the floor again as they are booked for double weekends.
For the northsiders, DCU, will take on UCC Demons. Only last week the Dubliners overcame the Cork side when they finished on a score-line of 73-80. However, this weekend the game holds greater significance as DCU must win one of their games to qualify and compete in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Donnelly once again stressed the importance of the teams focus, We know we need a win and the opportunity to compete in the Champions Trophy has given us the incentive to do so.
We will treat each game in isolation, maintain our efforts and look to finish strong.
As Demons have already secured their semi-final draw against cork rivals, Bord Gais Neptune, this game will give them the opportunity to change their momentum of late and record a win on the road.
Paul Kelleher, head coach of UCC Demons said, Weve had a lot of setbacks recently between players being injured, ill or having working commitments. Unfortunately, this weekend, well be going without Niall Murphy after he left the game injured last week.
However, we are eager to get back on track and back to the consistent team that I know we can be. We are lacking confidence but we wont let anything interfere. We want to win our next three games and the positive atmosphere around the team tells me we can do it.
Elsewhere, Dublin Inters second game of the weekend will see them challenge Killester in the I.W.A. Clontarf.
Griskas attitude is much the same entering this game as it is for the DCU Saints clash, We are one-a-piece with Killester also, so we know we can take this game.
This weekend we want to prove to everyone that we will not be pushed around and will finish the season strong. Our aim is to win both games and to make it difficult for our opponents to try and take us on.
Meanwhile, if DCU were to drop both games this weekend, it would give Killester the opportunity to slip through the cracks and nab the fourth position once they secure their home win.
Killesters head coach, Tom Doherty, said, We want to focus on winning this weekend, everything else is out of our hands.
Inter are an excellent team that have really excelled this season so we will have a close game.
Our lads are working hard and we want to finish the season on a high at home so Saturday night is a big one for us.
In Galway, Moycullen will take on Bord Gais Neptune as they look to finish their most successful season to date in the SuperLeague with a win.
Head coach of Moycullen, Salva Camps, said, We may have been knocked out of the race for the Champions Trophy last weekend but Saturday is still a huge game for us. Its the last game of the season and its on our home court. Well want to play with heart to thank the supporters who have been behind us all year and also to reward ourselves as a team for all the work weve put in since August.
Neptune play with great speed and try to get up and down the court quick but that wont scare us too much. We have a young team and should be able to run with them, we just need to make sure we keep our concentration and dont let them leak out for easy scores on the break too often.
Mark Scannell, Bord Gais Neptunes head coach is excited for his side, We want to win, to give us a chance to tie the second spot with Demons if they lose. It would be a great achievement for us considering other peoples expectations at the start of the season.
I am very proud of the team for everything that they have achieved this season, especially the National Cup title.
Over the last few weeks a lot of our younger boys have earned more court time and they have been coming up trumps. This weekend I want to increase their time and enter the Champions Trophy with a win to give us momentum.
We have respect for Moycullen and know what they are capable of at home so we need to hit the ground running against them.
Meanwhile League Winners, UL Eagles will take on a resilient UCD Marian who saw the better of them only two weeks previous.
Speaking about the game, UL Eagles assistant coach, Mike Hickey said, This is an important game for us in preparation for the semi-final next weekend.
We left a bit behind us when we played them last and we know that once we focus on our defence this time around we can secure the win.
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 - 9 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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