PREVIEW: Warriors Hope To End First Season On A High

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Garvey’s Tralee Warriors have breathed new life into basketball in Tralee says Timmy Sheehan. Now they travel to Donegal to see if they can end their season on a high… 

Trae Pemberton and Ryan Leonard have both had incredible first seasons for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors.

Tralee has enjoyed a long and varied basketball history both at local and national level.

The return to the top flight this season of the newly formed Garveys Tralee Warriors has rekindled the memories of Celtic who were the initial standard bearers back in 1977 and the all conquering Tigers who won three Superleague titles and two National Cups.

For a decade, Tralee, and indeed the entire county, had been without the type of entertainment and atmosphere which Saturday night in the Tralee Sports Complex provides.

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The amalgamation of Tralee Imperials and St Brendans in 2016 as a Superleague side has brought back that special mix of sporting and social engagement to the town and it’s a situation which has energised the entire sporting community during the winter months.

On this coming weekend, Warriors will make the long trek up along the Wild Atlantic Way to contest the end of season Play Offs in the Champions Cup.

In the semi final they will face Swords Thunder a team they have beaten twice this season in the National Cup (61-55) and most recently in the Superleague in Tralee on March 4 (68-61), while losing to them twice also, in the League (87-80) and in the second leg of the National Cup (77-64).

Having finished in third spot in the Superleague, just behind Swords, this is an acid test for Warriors in a knock out competition.

However, since December 10th, Warriors have been beaten just once and that was by Templeogue (96-93) who clinched the Superleague title in Inchicore at the end of an enthralling contest on March 11.

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So, while Templeogue and Swords will probably be the short odds bet to reach the decider on Sunday afternoon, Warriors with a big travelling support have targeted this competition as one in which they can succeed and finish their first ever season on a real high with silverware as a reward.

It’s certainly not beyond their capabilities, with the squad after an indifferent opening to their season, having lost three of their first nine games, subsequently going on to beat every other team in the League apart from Templeogue.

To date, with the targets set at the start of the season, they’ve exceeded all expectations.

However, they retain a burning ambition to write another chapter in the rich history of Basketball in Tralee.

So, tip-off on Saturday in Letterkenny at 6pm, will have all of those who travelled offering their wholehearted support, and, those at home anxiously following their fortunes on the various channels of radio and social media.

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