With one sentence Irish international and Energywise Ireland Neptune star Jordan Blount has ignited the touch paper beneath the opening game of the InsureMyVan.ie Super League.
“I don’t like Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU, so I’m looking forward to playing them and hopefully we can beat them,” Blount told basketballireland.tv at the National League launch earlier this month.
Energywise Ireland Neptune have been busy in the close-season, adding another irish international in Conor O’Sullivan from newly promoted Ulster University, while Chrishon Briggs and Max Cooper have swapped Belfast for Cork city.
The teams split their South Conference series last season, but it was Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU under player/coach Ciaran O’Sullivan who would go on to lift the title and the bragging rights at the National Basketball Arena in April. ‘Playing Energywise Ireland Neptune, who are a deep and talented team will be a good test to see where we stand early doors,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re very aware that the season itself will be a marathon,” he added.
Beaten finalists from last season Maree welcome back Charlie Crowley as head coach for a third season at the helm, but gone are the spine of their InsureMyHouse.ie National Cup victory in Jarrett Haines and Rodrigo Gomez. Ulster University make their way to Galway in the opening round still surfing the crest of their promotion wave.
Belfast Star have already been dealt an injury blow with the loss of Ramiir Dixon Conover to injury during the pre-season, but Adrian Fulton has been quick to bring in a familiar face to Irish basketball fans, De’Ondre Jackson as a replacement. Bright St. Vincent’s under rookie head coach Michael Bonaparte are the visitors to De La Salle College on opening day.
UCC Demons won 11 of their final 12 InsureMyVan.ie Super League regular season games in 2022/23 and they look to keep that run intact when they visit the Michael McGinn led Flexcham KCYMS. Elsewhere Garvey’s Tralee Warriors are hoping a bounce back season begins with victory at home to Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen), Griffith College Éanna have home advantage against EJ Sligo All-Stars and there’s a Dublin derby at the National Basketball Arena between Templeogue and Pyrobel Killester.
In the InsureMyVan.ie Division One a clash between newcomers Titans BC and Limerick Sport Eagles, who agonisingly missed out on promoted five months ago, headline a full slate of fixtures. Moy Tolka Rovers must cope with the loss of Ireland international Matt Treacy when they visit another semi-finalist from 2022/23 Mater Private Malahide, while another promotion hopeful Drogheda Wolves make the 190km trip to face Team North West in Letterkenny.
Saturday, September 30th
1600|Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU v Energywise Ireland Neptune, MTU Arena
1830|Belfast Star v Bright St. Vincent’s, De La Salle College
1900|Griffith College Éanna v EJ Sligo All-Stars, Coláiste Éanna
1900|Templeogue v Pyrobel Killester, National Basketball Arena
1900|Maree v Ulster University, Kingfisher Sports Arena
1915|Flexachem KCYMS v UCC Demons, Killorglin Sports Complex
1930|Garvey’s Tralee Warriors v Maigh Cuilinn, Tralee Sports Complex
Saturday, September 30th
1700|Team North West v Drogehda Wolves, ATU
1800|Titans BC v Limerick Sport Eagles, Knocknacarra Community Centre
1900|Mater Private Malahide v Moy Tolka Rovers, Malahide Community School
1900|SETU Waterford Vikings v Limerick Celtics, SETU College Hall
1930|Joel’s Dublin Lions v UCD Marian, Coláiste Bríd
2000|Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers v Killarney Cougars, St. Mary’s Hall
Sunday, October 1st
1515| SETU Carlow v Scotts Lakers Killarney, Barrow Centre