UCD Marian welcomed Neptune for their first home game of the new Superleague season. After the disappointment of their loss to Killester last week UCD were looking to bounce back with a win. Though they got it, they did not have it all their own way and in the end it felt like Neptune lost the game rather than UCD winning it.
UCD’s new coach Sasa Punosevac was the most exciting entity on the court for the first few minutes of the game as Neptune ran out to an early 5 nil lead. Though they lead Neptune did not run a single set offense for the first 6 minutes, early full court guard pressure and the shot clock dictated the tempo of Neptune’s attacks. A big block from Darren Townes announced the Neptune american’s arrival and he kept the visitors scoreboard ticking when they appeared to be out of a comfortable rhythm. The UCD american John Galvin was the center point of the offense all game. His post play was unstoppable all game and even the outstanding shot blocking of Neptune’s Paul Stapleton could not stop the 6’10 center from dominating around the rim.
The first half ended with UCD up 3 and the second half started in a scrappy mood with early fouls on both sides choking the life out of the quarter. Neptune captain Ger Noonan got called for a technical foul when he thought the ref was wrong and offered his opinion. Townes picked up his 4th foul and sat for the remainder of the 3rd and start of the 4th quarter, this left a hole offensively that they could not fill to keep in touch with UCD. Conor James drilled a bail out 3 on the shot clock buzzer to start the 4th quarter and then with 4:20 left Townes gets called for a silly over the back foul forcing him out of the game and effectively handing UCD the game.
The match finished 70-64 with John Galvin leading all scorers with 26 points. Do-everything forward (and captain for the day) Dan James was very good throughout and Liam Conroy was assured in possession of the ball all game giving UCD a solid platform to work off every time down the floor. UCD should improve throughout the season and for Neptune I hope Darren Townes can shoulder a serious load for an entire season.