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Irish Basketball Season Enjoys Thrilling Opening Weekend

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The newly named Premier Division got off to a flying start this past weekend. There was two games for woman’s basketball fans to take in on Saturday as UL Huskies travelled to the capital and came away with a win (75-57) with James Weldon securing a victory over his DCU Mercy counterpart Mark Ingle. Top scorers for the Huskies were Rachel Clancy and Great Britain international Rachel Vanderwal who had 19 and 18 points respectively.

In the other game on Saturday which also took place in Dublin, Killester suffered a 13 point defeat to Brunell (67-54). The away side had Menendez to thank as she carried much of the scoring load for her side finishing with a game high 20 points in the process.

Meteors managed to win the second half of their game against Ulster Rockets but it still wasn’t enough as they lost out by 3 points (63-60) having trailed by 6 at the break. Kerri Shields, Mairead McNally and Susan Dick carried the scoring load for the Rockets as they scored 53 of their sides 63 points.

Having suffered an opening day loss to UL Huskies, DCU Mercy got back on track with a convincing 35 point win over a hapless Liffey Celtics side (78-43). Having led by 13 at half time the home side pushed on to dominate the second half in what was an entertaining basketball game.

On the men’s side of things Templeogue let slip a slender fourth quarter lead against DCU Saints to suffer an 84-79 defeat in their first ever game in the top flight of Irish Men’s Basketball.

Eoin Darling was among the top scorers for the Saints , as he was one of three players to score ten points . Templeogue led at the start of the fourth quarter before losing their composure after a technical foul was called on Houston who also finished the game on 22 points. This alongside a Dan James’s 22 and Phil Taylor’s 23 should have been enough for Templeogue but the South Dublin club just failed to close the game out.

Killester easily recorded a victory over Dublin Inter winning out by a grand total of 18 points (79-61). The Westbrooks brothers combined for 27 points but it was Michael Boneparte who finished with a game high 27 that in the end made the vital difference.

Bord Gais Neptune rallied in the second half to overcome a six point half time deficit to win out by 3. Ger Noonan along with teenager Roy Downing impressed for the Cork based club whilst a game high from Darren Townes proved too much for Belfast Star (75-72).

UL Eagles also got their season off to a flyer with a 13 point win over Galway club Moycullen (70-57). Eagles lead by six at half time and never looked back from there with Scott Kinevane chipping in with 14 points in a well balanced scoring effort from UL.

In other news Ger Tarrant has been appointed as Irish U16 Girls Head Coach. He is set to replace Eamon Downey who has been forced to step away due to personal reasons. Newly appointed head of the IAC Noreen O’Connell has said she is delighted with her first appointment in her new role.

“Eamon put in some fantastic work with this squad and on behalf of the IAC I’d like to sincerely thank him for all his efforts. Fortunately, we have been able to appoint a coach with vast international experience in Ger Tarrant, and we have ever confidence that he will continue on the excellent work done last season by Eamon.”

Tarrant’s time coaching in international basketball has seen him reach high feats in places as far flung as Korea at the university games. He is also a former Irish U18 Head Coach but his biggest achievement has come in the form of the Four Countries Championship that he won while he was Head Coach of the Irish Senior Woman’s team.

Image courtesy of IrishExaminer.com

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