Saturday night guarantees a new name on the Irish men’s cup as University of Galway Maree take on DBS Éanna. Emmet Ryan breaks down the big one
Who, when, and where
University of Galway Maree vs DBS Éanna
National Basketball Arena, Tallaght
Saturday 21 January 20.00 Irish time
Paths to the final
Rd 1: 85-79 vs Tralee Warriors
QF: 97-93 vs Neptune
SF: 77-71 vs Ballincollig
Rd 1: 91-81 vs Killorglin
QF: 92-77 vs Belfast Star
SF: 86-68 vs St Vincent’s
Need to know
Both sides are really, really, physical and have deep benches. Expect both to go at least 9 deep in their rotations, probably to the 10th man if not more. Maree will want to bang with their combination of Rodrigo Gomez and Zvonimir Cutuk but Éanna have some real old man power in Mark Reynolds to keep them more than competitive on the inside.
As mentioned in the intro, the winner will claim their maiden title at the top level although Éanna appeared in the 2020 final, where they lost to Tralee. Both sides have been expectedly cagey when asked what the other needs to do to beat them. Éanna’s Seán Jenkins said that Maree “need to come prepared and to be ready for a battle” while Maree coach Charlie Crowley said that his side’s opponents will “have to turn up. From 1 to 12, they have to be ready to go.”
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What we think
Oh this is just a nasty tight one to call. No getting around it. This will almost certainly be a game of runs punctuated by some back and forth haymaker moments. A track meet suits Maree more than Éanna so don’t be surprised if the Dublin side works to slow down the tempo hard at times in this game. I’m not picking overtime because that’s a wash of a pick but don’t be shocked if it ends up being needed. Cards on the table, Maree to win.