DBS ÉANNA and Griffith College Templeogue travel to Cork this weekend gunning for place in the men’s Pat Duffy National Cup at Neptune Stadium in two big Saturday showdowns.
The first semi-final sees Éanna facing off against Garvey’s Tralee Warriors for the second time in seven days at 4pm, while Griffith College Templeogue will go head-to-head with hosts, Coughlan C&S Neptune in the 8pm tip off.
Tralee and Éanna dished up a thriller in Kerry last weekend, with the hosts just managing to hold off a big Éanna comeback at the death to win by three points.
The teams have now split their two games this season and it will be interesting to see what adjustments each team will make before Saturday’s showdown.
A concern for Tralee will be the health of Eoin Quigley who picked up an ankle injury last weekend.
Éanna will be hoping to carry their fourth quarter momentum into this weekend’s game and coach Darren McGovern will have to decide how quickly to introduce American Paris Ballinger, who was instrumental in their comeback last weekend. Cup experience may also play a role in this game, with Tralee able to draw on last year’s semi-final experience while Éanna are contesting their first semi-final at this level.
Looking ahead to the game, Éanna’s McGovern said: “Playing Tralee again is tough for both teams. Coming off a loss though, gives us a lot to work on. They did a really good job on us on Saturday, so with a few adjustments we will look to play somewhat better. We learned a lot from last weekend.”
In the second semi-final, Templeogue will be hoping that they can get by hosts Coughlan C&S Neptune, to return to the final for the first time since winning the cup in 2018.
Neither team is coming into the game in top form with Templeogue having lost two of their last three league games while Neptune have not won a game since the end of November.
One of the interesting battles will be the match-up between Neptune player/coach Lehmon Colbert and last year’s Player of the Year, Jason Killeen.
Both big men have won it all in Irish basketball and have been very dominant over the past five years. Whoever comes out on top of that matchup could have a major influence on which team will head to Tallaght at the end of January.
Looking ahead to the clash, Templeogue’s Mark Keenan said: “We know that Neptune in their home gym will be a tough task, and we will have to call on all of our previous Cup experience to try and get us over the line.
“We’re all looking forward to the game ahead and having missed out on reaching this stage last season, we are determined to give our very best this weekend.”
Templeogue’s women will play in the Under-20 National Cup at the Parochial Hall in Cork, facing the UU Tigers at 4pm.
Their Under-20 men take on Moycullen in their semi-final on Sunday at 1pm.