Garvey’s Tralee Warriors put on a performance for the ages in the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday evening as they ran out 88-77 point winners over Templeogue in a crucial, must-win top of the table clash in the Men’s Super League.
In one of the most highly-anticipated games of the weekend, huge performances from Kieran Donaghy, Fergal O’Sullivan and Kendal Williams were the talking points for the crowd on the night, as Tralee put in a stunning third quarter display to helped set them up for a thrilling finish in front of a capacity crowd. A late Templeogue run put the game back in the melting pot in the fourth quarter, but scores from Paul Dick, Keith Jumper and Eoin Quigley steadied the ship to see the hosts home to a memorable victory.
The win now leaves Tralee as the only team in the league with just four losses, with fellow title chasers Templeogue and UCD Marian now sitting on five losses each. Tralee have a tough job ahead of them though as they still have four games left to play in the season in comparison to Templeogue’s two clashes, with two of the Kerry side’s games set to be a double header of home and away games against UCD Marian on the last weekend of the season, March 23rd and 24th.
“I’m very proud of the team - we’re battered and bruised and we got through some tough injuries tonight,” said Tralee boss, Pat Price afterwards. “Templeogue are good and they brought their A game tonight. When you get the best teams together like this it’s about runs – can you stop the runs, can you answer them, and if we hadn’t stopped their run they could have won. Everything starts on the defensive end and then when Fergal O’Sullivan hit those threes - in front of this crowd - it’s worth four points.”
UCD Marian meanwhile kept their title dreams alive in Dublin on Saturday evening, running out 96-69 point winners over C and S Neptune. Elijah Mays top scored for the hosts with a superb 20-point game, to help see Marian into a 51-37 point lead at half time and they drove on from there. DCU Saints and UCC Demons played out an overtime thriller in Carrickmacross on Saturday evening, with DCU pipping the Cork side in the end, 95-87. A 37 point game from Mike Bonaparte was the standout display on the night, with Kevin O’Hanlon also chipping in with a big 23 point game. Good performances from Brandon Watts and Colin O’Reilly at the other end – both finishing the game with 27 points apiece – kept the game in the melting pot right up until the final overtime buzzer.
Elsewhere, Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin were pipped by just one point in their road Super League clash with Belfast Star, the hosts winning out 85-84 on the night. Shaquille Dance and Daniel Jokubaitis were the standouts for the visitors, bagging 30 and 28 points respectively on the night, but a 39-point display from Star’s Mike Davis helped them home to glory. Pyrobel Killester face Maree in the final game of the weekend this evening, with tip off at 7pm in the IWA in Clontarf.
Over in the Women’s Super League and Courtyard Liffey Celtics were officially crowned champions on Saturday evening as their last home game of the season saw them run out 85-58 point winners over IT Carlow Basketball. Big performances from Allie LeClaire, Aine O’Connor, Megan Howe and Karen Mealey saw the hosts into a 46-29 point lead at the half time break and they drove home to victory in front of a large home crowd.
Elsewhere, Fr Mathews won out their crucial battle with Maxol WIT Wildcats on the road on Saturday evening thanks to a big second half push. With the sides all level at half time on 32 points apiece, Shannon Brady and Grainne Dwyer led the charge in the closing quarters to win out 52-68 in the end. Pyrobel Killester and Marble City Hawks played out a thriller in Clontarf on Saturday evening, with Miah Spencer bagging a late, late winner to see the hosts win out 78-76 after a cracking contest. Just two points separated the teams at half time, with Hawks’ Kelly O’Hallahan, Katie Fox and Aine Sheehy putting in some big performances to keep them right in the mix. A 21-point game from Rebecca Nagle, coupled with 20 and 17 points respectively from Aisling McCann and Miah Spencer saw them match the visitors score for score though, and it was Spencer who held her cool to bag the big game winner.
DCU Mercy had the better of Ambassador UCC Glanmire on Sunday in Cork, winning out 74-81. The sides were neck and neck in the first half, going into the break tied at 41 apiece, but a huge third quarter from the Dubliners set them on the road to victory.
“We turned the ball over a lot in the first half but we looked very comfortable in the third,” DCU’s Mark Ingle said after his team’s win. “I thought [Adella Randell] was excellent for Glanmire and gave them a lot on offence but I’m happy with my team and look forward to having a go off Mathews next week.”
Singleton SuperValu Brunell made easy work of NUIG Mystics on Sunday afternoon, winning out on a final score of 77-50. Linda Rubene was excellent for the home side, finishing with 14 while point guard Danielle O’Leary had 13 in a solid performance by Tim O’Halloran’s outfit.
Over in the Men’s Division One meanwhile, DBS Éanna’s stunning 21 game unbeaten run was brought to a halt on Saturday night by Southern Conference winners, Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, who won out 79-80 in Dublin on the night. Turning a 10-point deficit around in the fourth quarter, the Cork team were led by a 43-point display from Andre Nation, while Ian McLoughlin and Daniel O’Sullivan were instrumental in the closing minutes. Nation was on hand then to block Joshua Wilson as he headed for the game winner at the death, and Ballincollig held on to their slender lead to win out in the end.
“We’re not Cup champions and top of the Southern Conference for nothing,” said coach Kieran O’Sullivan afterwards. “I’m very proud of how the guys played.”
In the Women’s Division One meanwhile, Maree continued their unbeaten run when they were crowned WNLC Cup champions at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Saturday afternoon