Champions Pyrobel Killester crashed out of the Men’s Pat Duffy National Cup following a 76-64 loss to Garvey’s Tralee Warriors at a packed Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night.
In a tactical game the Warriors always looked likely winners and commanded a 13- point interval lead.
The Dublin side kept battling in the second half but the Warriors - inspired by Jonathon Lawton (18) and Daniel Jokubaitis (15) - remained in control to book a semi-final date with Eanna next month.
Killester have had problems all season recruiting a quality American and although their latest signing Kason Harrell chipped in with 13 points it was a disappointing evening for the champions as assistant coach Mark Grennell reflected on the performance.
Grennell said: “We gave it everything and to restrict the Warriors to 76 points on their home court shows our defence was superb but we fell short in the offence court.”
Coughlan C & S Neptune, who will host the semi-final championships in January, proved too strong for DCU Saints (100-79) in their quarter final clash at St Vincent’s.
Player coach Lehmon Colbert only played limited minutes but his replacement, American victory scholar Peter Hoffman, finished with a game high 29 points.
Neptune led 55-49 after a high scoring first-half before a majestic display from Kyle Hosford (28) saw them advance to a last-four meeting with Griffith College Templeogue. Colbert said: “I am delighted with every player in the squad as they all contributed to this win and we are not thinking about the semi-final as there is lots of basketball to be played before that game.”
Belfast Star were stunned on their home court when losing to Eanna (78-63). Eanna are playing in the Super League for the first time this season and their upward curve continues with this impressive win.
Éanna were in control from early on, with Josh Wilson dominating offensively, while Stefan Zecevic chipped in with some big scores early on to see them into 12-25 lead at the end of the first, and a 30-43 half time lead.
Despite a superb game from Star’s American, Delaney Blaylock – who finished out with 26 points – to see them close the gap back to 10 points at one stage in the second half, they just couldn’t contain an extremely in-form Zecevic and Wilson, and with Neil Lynch adding some big scores down the stretch to see them home to a memorable Cup win.
Winning coach Darren McGovern said: “The lads on the floor gave it everything tonight.
“We played Star at home a couple of weeks ago in the league and they gave us one hell of a battle and we remembered that – we prepped really, really hard all week for this and we got there.
“We’re delighted. I don’t have any words for the performance – it was breathtaking at times.
“The semi-final is anyone’s game now. We’ve never been there as a club and we’re delighted to be there now.”
Griffith College Templeogue and Moycullen contested the last of the quarter-finals and victory went to the Dublin side 95-82 in a highly entertaining game at Nord International School.
In a high scoring first half Templeogue led 57-50 but the game turned on its head in the third quarter when they increased their lead to 19 points to the delight of coach Mark Keenan.
“Moycullen are a good side and they certainly put it up to us,” said Keenan: “Thankfully we came through and be one step from a cup final is a good feeling.”