Big-hearted Eanna almost shocked Garvey’s Tralee Warriors after a terrific second-half fightback in a magnificent Men’s Super League game at the Tralee Sports Complex.
The Warriors eventually won 80-77 but the game looked over at half-time when the Tralee side held an 18-point lead, with new American signing Andre Berry playing a pivotal part in this crucial game.
Eanna changed tactics in the second half and restricted the Warriors to 29 points; in a frantic finish, the Warriors had to show their battling qualities to deny the Dublin outfit.
The teams meet again next Saturday in the National Cup semi-final and Eanna coach Darrem McGovern forecasts another tough encounter. He also believes his side were at the wrong end of a vital decision in this game. “I am adamant — and have the footage to prove it — that the match table officials and commissioner never flagged a foul called on Andre Berry with seven minutes remaining before he was substituted.
“The bottom line is that when he came back on, Berry’s baskets won the game for them and that’s very disappointing in a game of this magnitude.”
Meanwhile, it was another frustrating weekend for Coughlan C&S Neptune as they suffered a fourth consecutive defeat, this time going down to UCD Marian 79-76 at Belfield.
Neptune trailed for most of this game, before edging into a two-point lead with 58 seconds remaining. In a close finish, UCD’s American Mike Garrow nailed crucial baskets to deny the Cork side victory at the death.
It has been a tough period for Neptune player-coach Lehmon Colbert but he was upbeat despite the loss. “There were more positives than negatives and all we can do is work on some of the negatives before our cup semi-final against Templeogue.”
Griffith College Templeogue warmed up for that semi-final with a 76-59 win over Abbey Seals Dublin Lions. In a low-scoring first half, Templeogue led 32-28 at the interval but increased the intensity in the third quarter to lay the foundation for their win.
Belfast Star are now serious Super League contenders and in a serious test at home to Pyrobel Killester, they held out for a 90-83 win.
The sides traded baskets from start to finish but a magnificent 34-point contribution from American Delaney Blacklock set the foundation.
For coach Adrian Fulton this was another solid display from his team: “When you play Killester it’s always a test and they certainly made us work hard but this win that puts us right back in the mix.”
Moycullen have had a good fortnight and their 91-78 win at DCU Saints was impressive. Trailing 45-39 at the interval, the Galway side rallied in the second half and, with American Grant Olson (20) and Paul Kelly (16) in superb form, they saw off their Dublin opponents in style.
Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin travelled to Galway and secured maximum points against Maree, 78-73.
The Kerry side trailed 35-32 at the break but recovered their composure in the second half, with Rami Gahanem (22) leading their scoring.
In the Women’s Super League, leaders DCU Mercy had a comfortable 78-49 win over basement side Marble City Hawks. The Dublin side, who will play Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell in the Paudie O’Connor National Cup semi-final, were seldom troubled by their Kilkenny opponents but coach Mark Ingle will not be underestimating Brunel next weekend in Cork: “I was pleased with our performance against Marble City Hawks but Brunell in Cork will be a far more difficult task than people are envisaging.”
Maxol WIT Wildcats continued their progress when defeating Fr Mathews 69-63 in a disappointing, low-scoring game. The Waterford side led 28-26 at the break but, inspired by Jasmine Walker, took control in the second half.
Coach Jillian Hayes said: “We are certainly going in the right direction and with two cup semi- finals in the U18 and U20 grades; also our policy of producing home-grown players hasn’t changed.”
Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell suffered another defeat, going down at Maree 84-73. But Pyrobel Killester continued their recent improvement when coming out on top against Liffey Celtics 69-55.
Ambassador UCC Glanmire had a comfortable 91-50 win at IT Carlow, with Tatum Neubert leading their scoring with an impressive 32-point tally.
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig all but wrapped up the Men’s Division One title, easily accounting for Scott Lakers in Killarney, 88-68.
Friday, January 10th
U20 Women's National Cup: Portlaoise Panthers v Waterford Wildcats, Neptune Stadium, 8pm.
Saturday, January 11th (At Neptune Stadium): U18 Men's National Cup: Neptune v UCD Marian, 10am; Dundalk Ravens v Belfast Star, 12pm; Women's Paudie O'Connor National Cup: Ambassador UCC Glanmire v Pyrobel Killester, 2pm; Men's Pat Duffy National Cup: DBS Éanna v Garvey's Tralee Warriors, 4pm; Women's Paudie O'Connor National Cup: DCU Mercy v Singleton Supervalu Brunell, 6pm; Men's Pat Duffy National Cup: Griffith College Templeogue v Coughlan C&S Neptune, 8pm.
(At Parochial Hall): IWA Wheelchair National Cup: Limerick Scorpions v Killester WBC, 10am; Men's Presidents' Cup: LYIT Donegal v Tradehouse Central Ballincollig, 12pm; Women's Division One National Cup: Team Tom McCarthy's St Mary's v Portlaoise Panthers, 2pm; U20 Women's National Cup: Templeogue BC v UU Tigers, 4pm; Men's Presidents' Cup: IT Carlow Basketball v Fr Mathews, 6pm.
Sunday, January 12th (At Neptune Stadium): IWA Wheelchair National Cup: Rebel Wheelers v Clonaslee WBC, 11am; U20 Men's National Cup: Moycullen BC v Templeogue BC, 1pm; UCD Marian v Portlaoise Panthers/Waterford Vikings, 3pm.
(At Parochial Hall): U18 Women's National Cup: Waterford Wildcats v DCU Mercy, 11am; Portlaoise Panthers v Singleton Supervalu Brunell, 1pm; Women's Division One National Cup: Ulster University v Trinity Meteors, 3pm.