LETTERKENNY IS SET to play host to some of the best basketball teams in the country this weekend as LYIT will be the place to be from 12pm on Saturday, April 1st, when the Basketball Ireland National League finals tip off.
The eight games will see the top teams from this year’s men’s and women’s Leagues go head-to-head for glory as the 2016/17 season officially draws to a close.
In the Men’s League, a new Champions Trophy winner will be crowned this weekend for the first time since the competition’s inauguration in 2013. Reigning champions, UCC Demons finished sixth in the Super League this year and as a result, will not contest the title this year, with four other semi-finalists hoping to do the honours instead for the first time.
Indeed, the two semi-finals tee up two hugely-anticipated clashes with the battle of the top four well and truly on as Regular Season champions Templeogue take on UCD Marian, while Hula Hoops National Cup winners, Griffith Swords Thunder go head-to-head with Garvey’s Tralee Warriors.
Templeogue will be hoping that they can do enough to overcome Ioannis Liapakis’ charges at UCD, with the university side the first team to beat Templeogue in the League earlier in the year, overcoming them 88-82 at the National Basketball Arena back in January. Indeed, games between these two sides have always been close, with Templeogue taking the honours back in October, 89-80.
The second semi-final meanwhile is also set to be an absolute cracker, as a big history between Swords and Tralee promises that this game will go down to the wire. The sides last met down in Tralee at the start of March, where the Kingdom put a massive dent in Swords’ hopes of a League title, when they defeated them by seven points (68-61). Earlier in the season the games were just as hard to call, with Swords overcoming Tralee in the League (87-80), before they each won a game apiece in the Cup, with Swords winning by more to ensure they went on to the next round in the Cup – which they eventually won out.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Super League play-offs are set to come to a thrilling climax as, after two cracking games down in Waterford last weekend, Regular Season champions, Ambassador UCC Glanmire and season runners-up, Courtyard Liffey Celtics both came through their semi-finals clashes to line up another massive game between the two teams. The sides are no strangers to meeting each other on the big stages, with Glanmire taking the spoils in the Hula Hoops National Cup final in January winning out over the Kildare side 48-61 on that occasion. Liffey Celtics returned the favour just a few short weeks later, overcoming the League leaders 72-65 in Leixlip and will be hoping that they can be the ones to stop Glanmire’s chase of four play-off titles in a row, and indeed, their third title this season.
The Women’s Division One final and the Men’s League Cup semi-finals and final will also take place over the weekend.
In the Women’s final, regular season champions, ITC Basketball will take on Julian O’Keeffe’s charges from Marble City Hawks in a much-anticipated battle. The two sides last served up a thriller in the League in Carlow back in January, when the game finished at 58-58 at full time and went on through two nail-biting rounds of overtime before Carlow eventually managed to hold on to a tenous two-point lead to win out 76-74 in the end so there’s no doubt this will be one to watch on Sunday afternoon.
In the Men’s League Cup meanwhile, Ulster University Elks and BFG Neptune will go head to head in the first semi-final. These sides last met just two weeks ago in the place classification games, with Elks having a 97-93 point advantage on the day, while two weeks’ previous to that encounter, it was Neptune who came out on top down in Cork, 120-72. The other semi-final pits Regular Season champions Maree against Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin. These two sides also met in the place classification games in Galway two weeks ago, with Maree running out 79-57 point winners on the day.
Games tip off from 12pm on Saturday, April 1st in LYIT, Letterkenny, Donegal this weekend. Tickets are available on the door with a weekend pass for €15, or a day pass for Saturday €10, a Sunday day pass €10, while under 16s go free.
Basketball Ireland Fixtures April 1st and 2nd
Saturday, April 1st
Basketball Ireland Men's League Cup semi-finals:
Ulster University Elks vs BFG Neptune, LYIT, 12.00
Maree vs Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin, LYIT, 14.00
Basketball Ireland Men’s Champions Trophy semi-finals:
Templeogue vs UCD Marian, LYIT, 16.00
Griffith Swords Thunder vs Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, LYIT, 18.00
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League Play Off Final:
Ambassador UCC Glanmire vs Courtyard Liffey Celtics, LYIT, 20.00
Sunday, April 2nd
Basketball Ireland League Cup final
Ulster University Elks/BFG Neptune v Maree/Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin, LYIT, 12.00
Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One Play Off Final:
ITC Basketball vs Marble City Hawks, LYIT, 14.00
Basketball Ireland Champions Trophy Final
Templeogue/UCD Marian v Griffith Swords Thunder/Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, LYIT, 16.00