Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Star’s season on brink

Darren O’Neill accepts that his Belfast Star side now find themselves in a do or die position.

Star were simply crushed by a second half blitz by Cork side Demons, who triumphed 105-79 yesterday.

On Saturday night the Ulster Elks yet again imploded when in a winning position.

Veteran Gareth Maguire had warned they needed to be more ruthless but instead the Elks allowed an 11-point lead at the interval to slip away and they went down 91-84 at the UUJ Sports Centre.

Matt Betley produced another typical high-scoring performance with 37 points, while Ed Millard equalled that tally for the visitors.

As for Star, they were also ahead at the break but didn’t

deliver in the second half, much to the chagrin of coach O’Neill.

“We have three away games in a row and I always knew we had to win two out of three to be in line for a place in the play-offs,” said O’Neill.

“That hasn’t changed and losing to Demons won’t determine if we make the play-offs but what will is the next two games away.

“We simply have to beat Marian on January 3. That is now a huge match for us.

“We had played so well in first half (yesterday) but in the second I don’t know what happened. We gave them too many easy points.”

Meanwhile, Killester defeated Hoops 90-75, with Paddy Kelly producing an outstanding all-round performance.

“We fought hard in the second half,” said Kelly. “We were neck and neck at the break but managed to create some breathing space when it mattered most in the final quarter.

“It’s a real focal point of our game, doing most of our damage this season in the closing period of games.

“We went off the boil last weekend and it’s a serious wake-up call. We can’t be complacent going into January, particularly with the cup being one of our main goals this season.”

It now seems that Demons and Killester arer clear favourites for the Superleague title.

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