Garvey’s Tralee Warriors retained their Men’s Champions Trophy title following a magnificent 73-61 win over Cup champions Templeogue in a pulsating final at Waterford IT on Saturday.
The opening quarter saw both sides go for the jugular but the pinpoint shooting of the Warriors’ American Trae Pemberton ensured his side led 17-14.
In the second quarter, Paul Dick began showing his skills with some neat drives to the hoop but with Templeogue’s Lorcan Murphy also showing flashes of brilliance, the Dublin side were level midway through the quarter. However, the Kerry side showed more ntensity in defence in the closing minutes and they went in at the break with a four-point (36-32) lead.
Although Kieran Donaghy only contributed six points on the nigh, his man marking of Templeogue’s Mike Bonaparte proved crucial.
On the restart, Warriors moved up another gear.
In this period Dick (MVP) ran the show and it was little surprise that the Kerry side surged into a 9 point lead entering the final quarter.
The Warriors were dealt a blow when Pemberton was fouled out with five minutes remaining and with a double technical also dished out to the champions they looked in serious trouble.
Dick missed the entire Warriors’ League and Cup campaigns with a serious ankle injury but his return was timed to perfection. Dick made some deft moves and with Donaghy and Goran Pantovic battling to the wire as the title returned to Tralee in style.
For the Warriors’ American coach Mark Bernsen this was a championship win to remember: “Templeogue defeated us in the league after overtime recently and I honestly thought we would never recover from that loss as we had the game in control and handed it back to them. I have no doubt if we had Paul Dick for the entire campaign we would have been a better side but I have to say the entire squad have been a credit to their club and I think we will be a force to be reckoned next season.”
Templeogue coach Mark Keenan admitted: “We had a poor start to the season but finished well that saw us win the cup but in this final Tralee Warriors showed what a quality side they are and we have no complaints.”
In the Men’s Division one League Cup final IT Carlow won their first national title with an impressive 88-72 win over Dublin Lions.
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