Tralee brace for battle at Swords

Irish TV Tralee Warriors take a six-point first-leg lead to the ALSAA in Dublin tomorrow when they face Griffith Swords Thunder in the Hula Hoops National Cup (7.30pm, ALSAA Dublin).

Tralee brace for battle at Swords

Playing before a capacity attendance last week, the Tralee side enjoyed a 20 points interval lead but Thunder stormed back and cut the deficit with a fine second-half display.

Warriors’ coach Mark Bernsen admits the tie is all to play for: “Although we had a superb second quarter, I don’t think we were 20 points a better side than Swords, and I think over the 40 minutes the end result was fair to both.

“Although the capacity attendance were on their feet from start to finish, I thought there were many unforced errors and hopefully we will have rectified many flaws for the second leg.”

It has been a busy few weeks for Warriors star Kieran Donaghy but coach Bernsen is confident his experience will be crucial tomorrow.

“Kieran had a book launch on Thursday appeared on The Late Late Show on Friday before a book signing on Saturday and then put in a wholehearted shift for us but he is a wonderful guy both on and off court.”

Champions Templeogue will take a nine-point advantage to the Mardyke Arena on Sunday for their clash with UCC Demons.

Home coach Tim O’Halloran hopes the return of star point guard Kyle Hosford from suspension will swing the tie in his side’s favour.

And Templeogue coach Mark Keenan is wary of the challenge: “Over the years I have learned that to win a cup game in Cork takes a special effort and we will need to be ready for the mother of all battles.”

Pyrobel Killester enjoyed a 19-point interval lead against DCU Saints last week but the Glasnevin side bounced back to win by the minimum.

Tomorrow the Saints return to the DCU complex hoping to complete the job on their home court but coach Joey Boylan believes there will be nothing to choose between the sides.

“It will be about who wants it most,” Boylan said.

UCD Marian played outstanding basketball in their first leg as they take a 28-point first leg advantage to play UL Eagles.

Belfast Star lost by a point to Moycullen in the first leg but coach Darren O’Neill hopes home court advantage will help book a quarter-final slot.

“We showed lots of character last week and if we play with the same intensity, there is every chance our fans will see us advancing,” he said.

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