Preview: Super League and Champions Trophy quarter-finals

Preview: Super League and Champions Trophy quarter-finals Preview: Super League and Champions Trophy quarter-finals
Lisa Ennis Champions Trophy Quarter-finals 

In the Champions Trophy, WIT Waterford Wildcats, who finished third in the Super League table have home advantage over Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics in their Champions Trophy quarter-final. WIT Waterford Wildcats emerged 73-61 winners when they met at Mercy SS last October and also picked up an away win 98-75 in January. However head coach Tommy O’Mahony believes there is little between the sides. 

“It is great to be involved in the business end of the season. Going into the playoffs we come on the back of a good performance last weekend, which is always positive. We are well aware of the threat that Liffey Celtics pose, they have a new American since last time we played, so the game will be a lot different. They have some excellent shooters and pose some really difficult match-ups, which make them a hard team to play against. We are really looking forward to this game, in what should be a very close encounter.”

Ioannis Liapakis, Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics head coach, acknowledged the defeats to WIT Waterford Wildcats, but has vowed his side will “fight as hard as we can”. 

“Saturday’s game it’s going to be a very difficult because we’re playing in Waterford against a very good team. Tommy (O’Mahony) does a great job and takes the maximum from every player. They’re very aggressively on defence and they press for 40 minutes. Offensively they’re at very high tempo and they shoot the ball exceptionally well. In the two games during the regular season they beat us very easily, but this game is a playoff and it’s do or die, so we will do our best to prepare for it and fight as hard as we can.”


The winners will play Singleton SuperValu Brunell in the Champions Trophy semi-finals.

DCU Mercy, who finished 4th in the regular season, have home advantage over Killester, having completed the regular season double over Karl Kilbride’s side. It was 76-67 when they met last November at the DCU Arena, while DCU Mercy also won 85-71 at the IWA in February. 

DCU Mercy head coach Mark Ingle said: “It should be another great encounter with Killester in the quarter-final this Sunday in DCU. There was very little in the difference between the teams in both league games this season, but we are hoping that home advantage will help us against a very good three point shooting team like Killester."

Killester head coach Karl Kilbride has labelled DCU Mercy as “favourites” ahead of the game. “Sunday is going to be a really tough one. They’ll obviously be going in as big favourites, playing at home and having beaten us twice already this season. But we also know the best version of us is good enough to beat anyone, and we’ve shown that throughout the season.


“We score the ball really well, but DCU do a brilliant job at stopping us doing that. They’re tough, physical and really switched on defensively.

“I think the game will probably be decided on the offensive boards. We saw last weekend, we lost the game because no matter how good we were defensively in the half court, we couldn’t keep (WIT Waterford) Wildcats off the boards and it cost us. And it will be the same scenario this weekend; we have to be able to keep (Alarie) Mayze and (Rachel) Huijsdens in particular off the boards if we’re going to give ourselves the best shot at winning.”

Awaiting in the last four of the Champions Trophy is Super League champions The Address UCC Glanmire. 

The playoffs in the Division 1 get underway this weekend, UCC Demons topped the South Conference with a 15-1 regular season record. They face Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, who were fourth in the North Conference.

Daniel O’Mahony, UCC Demons head coach said: “As we plan for this weekend league quarter-final we will take nothing for granted against a very talented Dublin Lions. I’m familiar with their players, as I coached against them before and they have some really talented players, and a group of guys who have been playing together for a number of years. So they play a high tempo, but yet controlled, as players are very familiar with each other. 

“As for us then, on the other hand we go into this weekend with near the perfect season and two from two in our goals that we set out - that was to win Presidents’ Cup and ensure we finished in top two within the Conference to give ourselves a home quarter-final. 

“This will prove a further test, as it’s the third and final goal within a long season. We’ve hit good form as of late and winning some close games against Limerick Celtics and Portlaoise Panthers, which will hopefully stand to us in a knockout game this coming weekend.”

Abbey Seals Dublin Lions head coach Erin Bracken is looking for the complete performance from her side. “We are really looking forward to the game against Demons, the playoffs are always an exciting time in the league, where anything can happen. Demons have proven to be extremely consistent all season, playing winning basketball, so we’ll definitely have to put a strong performance together on both ends of the floor to give ourselves a chance to win.”

EJ Sligo All-Stars were the North Conference winners, losing just two regular season games all season. They will play in-form Fr. Mathews, who ended the season with six consecutive wins to claim fourth spot in the South Conference.

Glen Monaghan, EJ Sligo All-Stars assistant coach, said: “The lads are really looking forward to the game, the players targeted a home quarter-final all season, so we’re delighted for them. We will have a full house on Saturday night in the Mercy and it’s sure to be a fantastic occasion.”

Fr. Mathews player/coach Darko Bucan stated: “We are pleased to be in the playoffs and appreciate the opportunity. It was a challenging year for us in terms of injuries, where we haven't had a full squad available since our first game. We also lost our captain Jack O'Mahony to a season-ending injury in December, so with guys in and out of lineups, it took us a while to get where we knew we can be all along. The guys stuck with it and stepped up, and huge credit to them to finish the regular season with six wins in six games to get us in the playoffs. We'll prepare well, play hard and see where that takes us.”

“Sligo are enjoying a successful campaign, they've invested a lot in their squad and are a tough side to beat. The way the league is set up, the pressure is now on them as one loss going forward means all the good work up to this point goes to waste.”

Grand Hotel Malahide were the North Conference runners-up in their inaugural National League season, finishing the regular season campaign with four wins on the trot. Next up is Limerick Sport Eagles in the last eight.

Head coach Sean Ingle shared his thoughts on the game. “We’re very fortunate in our first year in National League to have the chance to play at the business end of the season. It shows how much work and effort the guys have put in thus far. Both conferences have been super competitive this season with the leagues basically coming down to the last weekend of the season.

“We’re very much looking forward to a home quarter-final this weekend against a strong Limerick Sport Eagles. They are a deep squad with great balance, one of the top pros in the league and a very experienced coaching staff, so we’re looking forward to the challenge. 

“We’ll hopefully have a packed house again in Malahide. We’ve had unbelievable support this year from the club and committee, so hopefully we’ll do them proud and come out with the win.”

His Limerick Sport Eagles counterpart Matthew Hall added: “It's a big game for both sides as we move into the knockout stages and Malahide are on a great run at the moment, so we will be up against it. It's going to be a great atmosphere in the gym, so we are looking forward to the game. Playing in conferences make these games difficult, as we haven't seen Malahide all season, which makes it all even more unknown, but hopefully will make for an exciting game.”

IT Carlow Basketball were North Conference runners-up, they ended the season with two defeats and head coach Martin Conroy knows his side will have to step up against Drogheda Wolves, a side who they narrowly lost 74-72 to in the Presidents’ Cup semi-final earlier this season. 

“We look forward to a great game against a very good team on Saturday. Wolves are having a great season and I’m sure Gav (Garland) has them ready to go for this game. We’ve had some poor results lately, so we need to change that to have a chance of getting through this tie.”

Drogheda Wolves are another side in their debut National League season and head coach Gavin Garland predicted another tight affair against IT Carlow this weekend. 

“We are very excited to be in the playoffs in our first year and we understand the opportunity this is, as some clubs can wait years. What makes the game more exciting is the rematch with Carlow, after a one basket game in the Cup semi-finals. Both teams have had great runs and have really improved throughout the season and it could come down to the last possession again. We are just looking to solidify ourselves are a strong basketball club that will competitive every game and we want to keep the season going beyond this weekend”, he said.

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Tradehouse-Central-Ballincollig-Griffith-College-Templeogue Division 1 League Cup Quarter-Finals

There are two Division 1 League Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, Griffith College Templeogue host Tipperary Knights at St. Michaels College at 6pm and Portlaoise Panthers are home against LYIT Donegal, tip off at St. Mary’s Hall is 7pm. Super League Playoff Quarter-Final Fixtures

Saturday 19th March

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig v Griffith College Templeogue, Ballincollig Community School 4pm

Killester v C&S Neptune, IWA, 5pm 

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v UCD Marian, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30pm

Sunday 20th March 

DBS Éanna v NUIG Maree, Coláiste Eanna, 2pm Champions Trophy Quarter-Final Fixtures

Saturday 19th March

WIT Waterford Wildcats v Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics, Mercy SS Waterford, 6pm

DCU Mercy v Killester, DCU Arena, 2.30pm Champions Trophy Semi-Final Fixtures (to be played weekend of 26th/27th March)
 The Address UCC Glanmire v DCU Mercy/Killester

Singleton SuperValu Brunell v WIT Waterford Wildcats/Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics Division 1 Quarter-Final Fixtures

Saturday 19th March

IT Carlow v Drogheda Wolves, The Barrow Centre, 1pm 

Grand Hotel Malahide v Limerick Sport Eagles, Malahide Community School, 7pm

EJ Sligo All-Stars v Fr. Mathews, Mercy College, 7.30pm

Sunday 20th March

UCC Demons v Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, Mardyke Arena, 3pm Division 1 League Cup Quarter-Finals

Saturday 19th March

Griffith College Templeogue v Tipperary Knights, St. Michaels College, 6pm

Portlaoise Panthers v LYIT Donegal, St. Mary’s Hall, 7pm 

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