PHOTOS/REPORT: Warriors Survive Neptune Battle And Prepare For Western Shootout

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Alan Cantwell on a night when Warriors kept their title bid rolling on with a win over Neptune at the complex…

Garveys Tralee Warriors 87

C&S Neptune 82

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors kept their Super League dreams alive on Friday night as they secured another vital win, this time over C&S Neptune, in front of a capacity crowd at the Tralee Sports Complex.

The Warriors battled without the services of star point guard Paul Dick and for more than half the game without the powerful Keith Jumper in what was a thorough examination of the Tralee side’s championship credentials.

There is no doubt Neptune came to Tralee in determined mood for a win that would have given them a chance of surviving in Super League for next season.

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However it was the Warriors who prevailed by 87-82 in a game that went right down the stretch and was only finally secured in the dying seconds.

Neptune declared intent from the outset with Roy Downey and Owen Connolly on the mark early but Kendall Willams, Eoin Quigley and Dusan Bogdanovic soon got the Warriors in gear.

Former UCC Demon Lehmon Colbert hit a hat trick of scores before Fergal O’Sullivan arced in a cracking three to lift the home crowd.

Darragh O’Hanlon and Kieran Donaghy soon followed his lead but Colbert, Downey, Connolly and Justus Melton kept Neptune in range. When Keith Jumper opened his account the sides were level at 21-21 the end of the first.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Adam Heaphy was proving to be a thorn in the side for the Warriors as he hit the hosts for nine early points in the second. Fergal O’Sullivan wound up for another trademark three and when Williams knocked down another the Warriors edged ahead.

The sides literally went score for score throughout the period with Donaghy and Colbert trading big three points efforts.

The Warriors were then hit with a hammer blow when Keith Jumper was forced out the game with injury following a heavyweight collision with Lehmon Colbert.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

They were also left to rue a couple of misses from the free throw line as Neptune saw out the quarter in style with five straight inside scores to lead at the break by 45-44.

Williams and Quigley combined for 8 points early in the third but Neptune again played themselves back in to the game with Downey and Melton on the mark.

Fergal O’Sullivan sparked a three-point spree with Donaghy and Williams joining him in scoring from distance to see the Warriors lead by 5. But Neptune’s big man Colbert was doing damage inside and replied with 7 points of his own.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Williams hit another three before Downey steadied to hit back-to-back baskets from outside the arc and it was down to a one score game. Two signature drives from Donaghy yielded baskets but Colbert had the final say to leave the three quarter score 71-67 to Warriors.

The home side got off to the start they need in the final quarter with Williams and two from Quigley either side of a Downey score saw the Warriors push out to an 8 point lead.

But when Melton added and veteran Ger Noonan twisted and turned for a couple of scores the Warriors advantage was down to 3.

Neptune then suffered a big blow when playmaker Roy Downey limped out of the contest. Warriors took their chance and the game was ultimately decided with two key scores from the hosts when Donaghy followed Quigley in knocking down a three and the lead was back out to 9.

Neptune showed all their renowned fighting spirit to keep their hopes alive and Warriors hearts in mouths as Heaphy and Colbert hit back-to-back threes and the game was down to a single score inside the final minute. However Neptune foul trouble allowed Quigley to the line twice to land the final blows and see out the hard fought if deserved win.

The Warriors are back in action against Moycullen in NUIG Kingfisher Arena on Bank Holiday Monday.

Another win will see the Warriors move into a double header duel with UCD Marian, firstly in Belfield on Saturday night at 5.00pm and then in a return fixture in Tralee 24 hours later. The stakes are high but the rewards immense.

For the Warriors it is still a case of taking just one game at a time…tip off in Galway on Monday is 3.00pm.

Scorers:

Warriors: Kendall Williams 19, Eoin Quigley 17, Kieran Donaghy 16

C&S Neptune: Lehmon Colbert 21, Roy Downey 18, Adam Heaphy 15

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