Belfast Telegraph

McCotter has Star play-offs in his eyes

By David Kelly

Paddy McGaharan was hailed by Belfast Star coach Neal McCotter following his side's 91-78 victory away to Eanna in the All Ireland Premier League.

McGaharan compounded his status as one of Star's most consistent performers throughout this campaign when he came up with 14 points and a fine defensive performance for the Belfast side, who have moved up to joint fourth place.

Star have now turned around a poor start to the season with five victories in their last six games, leaving them with a realistic shot of making the top four end-of-season play-offs.

Saturday night's victory was just what coach McCotter wanted after the Christmas break and American Shawn Vanzant returned from the States firing on all cylinders as he top scored with 31 points.

But, arguably, it is the recent performances of McGaharan, Liam Pettigrew, Marty McDonald and Keelan Cairns that have pleased McCotter the most. McGaharan has certainly moved his game to another level over the past couple of months.

McCotter said: "Paddy is easily having his best season ever for the club and I would now rate him as one of the top five defenders in the Premier League.

"Defensively he has been great for us and he is now regularly contributing double digit figures offensively. He is now on a run of three outstanding performances and this is what we need from him and others like Marty McDonald and Liam Pettigrew.

"They are starting to show their true potential at this level and I have been very pleased with the way Keelan has anchored our defence in recent matches.

"I'm not sure that everyone appreciates what he gives the team but I can see things that maybe others don't - he has worked very well in defence, cleaning up around the boards.

"Saturday night's overall performance was not quite as good as the previous two matches but we are coming back after the break and I know that we can go to another level. We've given ourselves a real chance of finishing in the top four and now we have to go and take it."

Belfast Telegraph


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