REPORT/PHOTOS: Warriors Cup Run Comes Up Short Again

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Alan Cantwell on Warriors exit from the National Cup competition at the semi-final stage in Cork on Saturday…

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 65

DBS Éanna 78

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

WARRIORS hopes of making it to a National Cup Final were dashed when they were taken out at the semi final stage by a very good DBS Éanna side at a packed out Neptune Stadium in Cork on Saturday.

After an even and surprisingly low scoring first half it was the Dublin side that seized the initiative in the third quarter to lay the foundations for a 78-65 win in the end.

Eoin Quigley had the Warriors up and running early in the first quarter with three quick fire scores but Joshua Wilson and Stefan Zecevic combined to level for Éanna.

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Paul Dick fired his way into the contest and Andre Berry was very good inside to move the Warriors ahead but back to back scores from Wilson had the Dublin side back on terms.

Quigley struck again for Warriors after a length of the court pass from Donaghy but a three from Zecevic ensured the sides took their first break all square at 14 points each.

After a nervy opening quarter the Warriors took the lead early in the second and with a three from Rap Buivydas, a couple from Paul Dick and a strong finish from Berry and suddenly were 24-17 up.

In an attempt to push on a number of Warriors efforts just didn’t drop and their shooting was at times both rushed and wayward. Éanna seized their opportunity to cut the gap with a three from Neil Lynch, a score from Mark Reynolds and two from the line from Zecevic had the sides level again.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Another good finish from inside from Andre Berry late on gave the Warriors a narrow 26-24 half time lead.

The Warriors built on their lead early in the third but appeared to be working that bit harder to find their scores.

Daniel Jokubaitis struck his first three and Paul Dick, Donaghy and a clever rebound score from Quigley eased the Warriors ahead but Zecevic and Wilson continued to get good looks at the basket to keep Éanna in touch.

Jokubaitis hit the mark again and when a classic turnover from Donaghy released Quigley to dunk spectacularly the Warriors fans were on their feet as their side led by 6.

But with the Warriors team foul allowance used up midway through the quarter Éanna’s drives to the basket were rewarded with scores or free throws.

Zecevic, Wilson and Reynolds combined for 14 of the next 16 points with the Warriors resistance coming from Jon Lawton’s first score late in the quarter and Éanna’s run gave them a potentially game winning lead of  47-41 at the end of the third.

The final quarter saw both sides score more than they had in the entire first half of the contest. Jokubaitis opened with his second three and another from close range but Zecevic and Hillary Netsiyanwa kept Éanna’s six point lead intact.

The decisive 60 seconds followed in which Zecevic fired in seven points and when Marco Tomic hit his first score with a three the lead was out to 12. Paul Dick launched himself back into the contest to cut the Éanna lead to just 6 with back to back scores after another three from Jokubaitis.

However Éanna restored their double digit lead when the impressive Wilson and Netsiyanwa fired down two game winning threes. With both teams in foul trouble the shootout from the free throw line went very much the way of Éanna and from six visits each the Warriors were outscored by 10 to 4.

In the end Éanna franked their impressive Super League form to date by comfortably seeing out the win by 78-65 in the end. They will now meet Griffith College Templeogue in the National Cup Final in Tallaght after the Red Army defeated Neptune on their home court in the other semi final.

Scorers:

Warriors: Paul Dick 14, Daniel Jokubaitis 14, Eoin Quigley 11, Rap Buivydas 11

Éanna: Stefan Zecevic 24, Joshua Wilson 22, Mark Reynolds 12

• Next up for the Warriors is a home date with a difference when they welcome DCU Saints to the home of St. Mary’s Basketball Club in the Castleisland Community Centre for the first home game outside Tralee Sports Complex. Tip off next Saturday night in Castleisland is at 7.30pm.

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