PREVIEW: Super Sunday For Warriors As They Face UCC In National Cup

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Alan Cantwell previews Sunday’s Hula Hoops Pat Duffy National Cup clash between Warriors and UCC Demons in the Tralee Sports Complex…

Since the establishment of Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in 2016, the Tralee Sports Complex has seen some incredible action at the venue with the welcome return of Super League basketball to the town.

However, tomorrow could see one of the best games yet at the home of the Warriors when they host UCC Demons in the quarter final of the Hula Hoops Pat Duffy National Cup.

Twelve months ago the same sides met at the same stage of the competition with Demons prevailing in a highly charged affair in the Parochial Hall in Cork on a final scoreline of 69-64.

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Already this season the Warriors exacted some revenge when they managed to defeat Demons for the first time in League or Cup away from home in Round 2 of the Super League. On that occasion the Warriors outclassed their rivals to prevail by 84-75.

Both sides have had mixed fortunes in the League to date with the Warriors currently one clear win ahead of Demons with 5 wins and 3 defeats from 8 games played while the Cork side have a 4 and 4 win loss record.

There is much anticipation ahead of seeing two of the best point guards in the League squaring off against each other with the Warriors Paul Dick opposing UCC Demons Kyle Hosford in what promises be a fascinating duel.

Paul Dick has been in outstanding form for the Warriors in recent weeks, conducting the plays from the top of the point and top scoring with 29 points against Templeogue last weekend.

Hosford has also been performing at the highest level for Demons and that was acknowledged with his selection as Basketball Irelands Player of the Month in October.

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Demons will also be looking for performances from their American Brandon Watts, their Bosman Girts Lazdans, Carlton Cuff and player coach Colin O’Reilly.

The Warriors squad has been strengthened in the last two weeks with the arrival of 6’8’’ power forward Keith Jumper and he has already indicated that he will be a very welcome addition to the Warriors set-up, operating effectively at both ends of the court against Templeogue last weekend.

The Warriors will look to Janis Dumburs, Eoin Quigley, Kieran Donaghy, Darragh O’Hanlon and Fergal O’Sullivan to continue their good form and give the Warriors every chance to reach their first National Cup semi final at the third time of asking.

But Demons on their day are a dangerous proposition and seem to have an uncanny ability to raise their game particularly for the National Cup.

This is a game they have targeted since the draw was made in August but may have quietly been expecting a date with Templeogue rather than the Tralee side.

However against the odds the Warriors knocked the Cup champions out in the last round by producing their best performance of the season at the Oblate Hall.

They repeated the feat in last week’s round of Super League action by downing the Red and White army 99-93 in Inchicore. Not many sides beat Templeogue at home, let alone twice in a month, but that is the type of form that the Warriors bring into tomorrow’s game.

With a place in this year’s Cup semi final at stake, the Tralee Sports Complex is the place to be for all basketball fans tomorrow afternoon.

The advice is to get to the venue early and prepare for an afternoon of pure sporting drama. Tip off is at 3.30pm.

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