Local rivalry in Galway is adding a distinct flavour to the Basketball Ireland National League with six derbies in the men’s division one this season.
SSE Airtricity Moycullen and Maree are the top two sides in the league respectively, while J&L Auctioneers Titans are also through to the cup semi-finals along with Moycullen.
This weekend marks the halfway point of a 14 game league season and with Moycullen on a bye-week, Maree can close the gap if they beat bottom side Tolka Rovers of Dublin. Eanna are another Dublin side making the trip west this Saturday. Titans are the hosts and a close game is expected – the two sides occupy the mid-table positions with a 50 per cent win rate.
This weekend’s game follows the back to back derbies between JM&L Auctioneers and Maree. The first game was a President’s National Cup quarter-final which Titans won, but last weekend weekend Maree exacted a measure of revenge with an 88-76 win at the Community Centre in Knocknacarra.
Maree opened up their lead in a typically fast-paced opening quarter on Saturday. Titans were slow to shut down the offensive drives and it was Kenneth Hansberry who capitalised. His inside moves and outside shots allowed Maree to open up a 29-21 lead after 10 minutes.
Titans gained a foothold in the middle quarters as Darryl Durham led the charge. The American was double-teamed for most of that period and, with Tomas Mitkus struggling with an injury, Titans could not narrow the gap.
Eoin Rockall and Charlie Crowley helped steady the ship for Maree with Crowley posting a three-pointer from the base line and 16-years-old Eoin Rockall saving his best until last in a 20-point performance.
SSE Airtricity Moycullen maintained their six-point lead at the top of the division with a comprehensive 91-49 win over Tolka Rovers.
NUIG Mystics are in fifth position in the Women’s division one, but will head into the New Year with plenty of optimism. Ailish O’Reilly is one of only three players averaging more than 20 points per game, while teammate Nicole Krusen is also in the league’s top five of scorers.