Keenan going in for the Kill'
The 2012 National Cup semi-finals take centre stage this weekend with Cork set for its third consecutive hosting of the event.
Neptune Stadiumwill host the SuperLeague National Cup semi-finals (men and women), while the U18, U20 and senior sections (both codes) will take place in the Parochial Hall, Cork and also the Neptune Stadium.
This season's SuperLeague Cup semi-finals see a repeat of the dramatic 2010 clash between UCC Demons and Bord Gáis Neptune, with the build-up perfectly poised after both sides enjoyed wins against each other this season.
Neptune's dramatic 104-102 win in October was cancelled out by Demons' 99-64 demolition over the Christmas period. However, Neptune will be heartened by their 83-61 win over Belfast Star in their last outing, while Demons suffered an 85-82 defeat at home to 11890 Killester.
In the other semi-final, the stakes couldn't be higher as UL coach Mark Keenan aims to eliminate his former charges, Killester. Keenan led Killester to the league title and National Cup final last season but surprisingly departed the Dubliners in the summer. Killester hold the advantage ahead of this clash, with two league wins already recorded over the Munster outfit. Eagles' sole victory over Killester came with an 80-68 win in November.
In the women's semi-finals, Team Montenotte Hotel face a daunting prospect against unbeaten UL. James Weldon's charges are unbeaten in over a year and have already enjoyed victory over Montenotte during this campaign. Montenotte will be heartened by their form in December, where an unblemished record sees them maintain the pressure on UL at the top of the women's SuperLeague.
The meeting of fierce rivals Killester and DCU Mercy promises to be an exciting match-up. Mercy have enjoyed a remarkable cup journey in recent years, claiming the last two titles but they will be wary of a Killester side enjoying a positive league campaign.
Killester lie fourth in the SuperLeague, just one place behind DCU Mercy, but they have played an additional game. The previous encounter between them saw a comfortable 13-point win for DCU.
NATIONAL CUP SEMI-FINAL SCHEDULE
Under-18 Men's National Cup Semi Finals: Maree v Dublin Raiders, 10.0.
Under-18 Women's National Cup Semi Finals: Brunell v Meteors, 12.0.
Senior Women's National Cup Semi Finals: Longford Falcons v Tralee Imperials, Parochial Hall, 2.0; Scruffy St Paul's v Killester, 4.0.
Under-20 Women's National Cup Semi Finals: Brunell v Tralee Imperials, Parochial Hall, 6.0; Waterford Wildcats v DCU Mercy, 8.0.
Women's SuperLeague National Cup Semi Finals: Team Montenotte Hotel v UL, 6.0.
Men's SuperLeague National Cup Semi Finals: 11890 Killester v UL, 8.0.
Under-18 Women's National Cup Semi Finals: Maree v Tralee Imperials, 10.30.
Under-18 Men's National Cup Semi Finals: Swords v Templeogue, 12.30.
Senior Men's National Cup Semi Finals: Thunder v Team Leftbank Kilkenny, 10.0; UCD v Maree, 12.0.
Women's SuperLeague National Cup Semi Finals: DCU Mercy v Killester, 2.30.
Men's SuperLeague National Cup Semi Finals: Bord Gáis Neptune v UCC Demons, 4.30.