Basketball: Maguire is ready to bring down Star in derby clash
Gareth Maguire is relishing the opportunity of a perfect start to the new Nivea Superleague campaign at the expense of his former club Belfast Star.
Maguire steps back into the elite division after a three-year absence in a bid to give Jordanstown much needed experience in their first year in the Superleague, having spent two seasons in Division One.
On Sunday afternoon the two teams meet at the UUJ Sports Centre and a sell-out crowd is expected for the derby clash.
"It's an exciting time for the sport and for the University of Ulster who are backing us and what a start to the season, facing Star," said Maguire, part of the Belfast club's Superleague title winning team in the mid 1990s.
"I'm really looking forward to the game. The tension will be there in the way that it was when Star used to play Queen's before Queen's left the league.
"We know that it's going to be a tough year for us and Star should beat us but two years down the line we will have a very strong outfit.
"It will be a good test for us against Star because they are such a well organised and experienced side."
On a personal note, the 37-year-old former Irish international - a teacher at Ulidia Integrated College - knows he is in for a very demanding year along with wife and Jordanstown coach Deirdre Brennan.
Maguire said: "I've had a nagging groin problem but I should be fine for Sunday afternoon. Physically it's going to be very hard and it will take me longer to recover but I feel it's important that I bring my experience and help the lads through this season.
"Apart from on court we are hoping to develop things around the game, making it a more family orientated experience so on Sunday we'll have games for the kids and stuff like face painting."
Jordanstown will also have former Star players Scott Summersgill and Gary Connolly in their line-up and will be hoping that Americans Adrian Goss and Brian Nieman can be instant hits.
Maguire added: "The two American lads are rookies as well, straight out of college so it's going to take time for them to settle but I have been very pleased with how they have been working."
Meanwhile, Jordanstown have been drawn away to Tralee in the National Cup.