REPORT/PHOTOS: A Memorable Comeback By Warriors Sets Up Title Showdown

Posted by


Alan Cantwell on that game last night which sees Warriors in pole position to secure title…

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 89

UCD Marian 84

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

It was dramatic, at times breathless…more often breathtaking.

This was a basketball game for the ages and against considerable odds Garvey’s Tralee Warriors produced a stunning performance late on to secure a heart-stopping 89-84 overtime win.

The Warriors somehow conjured up some late magic driven by their leader Kieran Donaghy to win a game no one would have believed possible as they trailed the League champions by 12 with 4 minutes remaining in the regulation time.

The win is all the more incredible given they finished the game with just one of their starting five on the court and it was Donaghy, Fergal and Darren O’Sullivan, Darragh O’Hanlon and Rap Buivydas that battled so heroically in the final minutes to secure the win.

Continued below…


With a terrific atmosphere in the Belfield Sports Centre the first quarter opened brightly for both sides and with Keith Jumper, Kieran Donaghy, Eoin Quigley and Dusan Bogdanovic all in range for the Warriors after Mario Markovicz and Mike Garrow got Marian on the board.

Another two from Markovicz either side of a Scott Kinavane drive edged Marian ahead. Early indiscipline from Jumper and Quigley gave up early fouls which Markovicz and Garrow took full advantage.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

After Jumper and Donaghy kept the Warriors in touch Neil Baynes got to the board for the home side and they led by three late in the quarter. Bogdanovic however hit two from two from the line leaving the minimum between the sides 18-17 at the end of the first.

The Warriors tore into the Marian rearguard early in the second and a quick blitz yielded 9 unanswered points with Bogdanovic finding the basket at will landing three inside scores.

Marian struck back in ruthless fashion with their star shooter Conor Meany lining up and landing back-to-back threes to cut the lead back to a single score.

Donaghy eased the Warriors back out to a 5 point lead before Cathal Finn followed Meany’s lead to fire in another 3. Bogdanovic was wreaking havoc in the Marian paint and when he wasn’t scoring he was drawing fouls and was flawless with four from four.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

At the other end the impressive Mike Garrow hit four almost identical fade away jump shots either side of a Paul Dick weave to the basket and when Meany dropped in another signature three and Finn fired in a two on the buzzer, UCD lead 40-39 at the long break.

The Marian fixation with three point scores continued early in the third when Aidan Dunne hit little but net but Paul Dick decided it was time for the Warriors first major score of the night as he fired in from distance to keep 2 between the sides.

Conor Meany was then offered two quick looks at the basket and in typical style hit his fourth and fifth three of the night.

When he stepped inside the line to score shortly after and Garrow followed suit suddenly the home side were 11 points to the good.

The Warriors needed a response and Dick and Bodganovic obliged to haul the visitors back to within 4 at 58-54 as the sides straightened up for home.

Elijah Mays and Matt Kelly added early in the final chapter and the Marian lead was out to 9.

The sides then exchanged score for score with Mays and Finn in range for Marian and Fergal O’Sullivan, Bogdanovic and Jumper on the mark for the Warriors but baskets from Markovicz and Finn pushed the home sides advantage out to what looked like a game winning lead of 12 with 4 minutes remaining.

Quigley dunked and Donaghy drove to cut the gap but the Warriors foul count was mounting up and when Bogdanovic was added to their injury list, the Warriors fans would have been forgiven for heading for the doors.

However despite Markovicz punishing the Warriors fouls with 6 from 8 from the line somehow the Tralee side began to turn the tide and scores from Jumper and Donaghy and a three from Quigley left just four between the sides with 90 seconds on the clock.

Donaghy then assumed the role of point guard as Paul Dick joined Eoin Quigley and Keith Jumper on the bench with five fouls out and he immediately drove to the basket for a score before assisting Fergal O’Sullivan who stepped into position to fire down a spectacular three to cut the gap to just a single point.

In a manic finale Donaghy picked Meany’s pocket at the halfway line and the turnover drew the foul that allowed him calmly land one from the line to tie the game at 80-80 and force overtime.

Into the additional five minutes Kieran Donaghy was the only starter for the Warriors still on the court and he began the overtime period with a decisive steal by Donaghy on Meany and put Fergal O’Sullivan clear before he was fouled under the basket.

O’Sullivan edged the Warriors ahead with one from two from the line. Dunne and Quigley traded scores and the Warriors maintained their slender lead.

Both sides were now in foul trouble and Quigley and Donaghy added 3 from 6 from the line push the Tralee sides lead out to a single score. Garrow was given the opportunity to tie the game up but uncharacteristically missed both free throws.

Enter Rap Buivydas, the youngest member of the Warriors squad at 16. The Irish international drove to the board only to draw a foul.

He stood over the throws and despite just missing the first, iced the second to put three between the teams in the dying seconds. It was the young star that capped a wonderful cameo by banking in the final score of the game to see the Warriors win by 5 in the end.

Scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors – Dusan Bogdanovic 19, Paul Dick 19, Kieran Donaghy 15

UCD Marian – Mario Markovicz 19, Mike Garrow 18, Conor Meany 18

Comments are closed.