Garveys Tralee Warriors staged a dramatic second half comeback to deny Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin in the Premier Men’s final at the 49th annual St Mary’s Castleisland Blitz played in front of a packed house at the Castleisland Community Hall.
Early in the second half, Killorglin looked to be in pole position to deny the Warriors a three in a row, as they led 40-34 but the Warriors got physical under both boards and Killorglin suddenly started firing blanks. Kieran Donaghy was inspirational for the Tralee side with some superb rebounding and then he drained a big three to close the gap to 40-37.
Keith Jumper made it a one-point game (40-39) as the crowd were now on the edge of their seats but a three from Stacy Lombard and a free throw from Daniel Jokubaitis pushed Killorglin four clear with 5.00 left on the clock. However this was to be Killorglin’s final score, as they could not buy a bucket nor match the physicality and intensity of the Warriors in full flow.
Jumper levelled the contest and Eoin Quigley gave Warriors the lead for the first time in the game when he drained a huge three with 3.35 left on the clock. Jumper from the free throw line saw Warriors home to a flattering nine-point win and it will no doubt add spice to their Superleague meeting on next Saturday night in Killorglin.
Killorglin made a flying start with early three’s from Adam Donoghue, Marin Brzica and Daniel Jokubaitis as they raced 11-0 clear but the Warriors soon got to the pace of the game with Kieran Donaghy and Keith Jumper playing good defence. Another Jokubaitis three-pointer and Killorglin 16-4 in front before Warriors introduced Eoin Quigley and suddenly the comeback was on.
Kieran Donaghy drove through the lane for a bucket but failed to add the bonus while Fergal O’Sullivan drained a three and Eoin Quigley added two good baskets and suddenly the game was 18-17 in favour of Killorglin.
But Daniel Jokubaitis returned to the court and drained a three as did Pierre Newton and Ivan Bogdanovic as Killorglin led by 10 at half time 30-20 and it set up the second half for a pulsating climax.
Two early Warriors buckets from Darragh O’Hanlon and Keith Jumper set the scene for a Warriors comeback but Killorglin will be kicking themselves for letting the game slip.
Top Scorers: Warriors: K Jumper 25, F O’Sullivan 7, And K Donaghy 7
Keane’s SV Killorglin: D Jokubaitis 14, P Newton 11, A O’Donoghue 5
In a high quality Men’s Division 1 final, St Brendan’s, Tralee proved too strong for a KCYMS side on a 41-32 scoreline but it would have been much closer if Killorglin had not missed so many free throw.
Irish International Rap Buivydas was a major player for St Brendan’s with a game-high 20 points while team mate Stephen Bowler drained 9 points.
In an all-St Mary’s Senior Ladies’ final Síofra O’Shea led her side (Red) to a 24-22 win over the Meabh Barry-led St Mary’s (Black) with Orla White’s three-point attempt coming back off the rim on the buzzer.
There was also an all-St Mary’s Senior Men’s final with Sean O’Connell’s 11 points ensuring that St Marys (Black) beat the Red side led by Frank O’Rahilly with Maurice Casey and Michael Broderick in superb form.
St Bridget’s (Currow) were on top in the opening half of the Div.2 Ladies final against Kenmare Kestrels with Nuala O’Connor scoring seven as they led 13-0 at the interval. O’Connor added six more points and Fiona Nelligan McCarthy eight, with St Bridget’s coasting to a 33-10 win.
Rathmore beat St Mary’s in the U-14 Boys Final on a 24-18 scoreline. Rathmore pulled away on the second half with Seán Finnegan rebounding powerfully and Cian Twomey netting some fine baskets.
St Mary’s won the U-16 Girls final with a 24-13 win over TK All Stars with MVP Aoife Kerins nailing two three-pointers.