PHOTOS/REPORT: Warriors Win Final Home Game Against Lions

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Alan Cantwell reports on Warriors’ final home game and says while they are in pole position to clinch Super League title, the spectre of points deduction remains…

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 96

Abbey Seals Dublin Lions 54

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and Belfast Star will go into the final round of Men’s Super League this weekend with everything still to play for as the sides both enjoyed wins, albeit hugely contrasting wins, last Saturday night.

The Warriors eased to a very comfortable 96-54 win over Abbey Seals Dublin Lions at the Tralee Complex while Belfast Star needed a Conor Quinn buzzer beating three to seal their win over Coughlan C&S Neptune in a game that ended in some controversy over whether or not the ball was released from Quinn’s hand before the buzzer sounded.

Back in Tralee the signs for Dublin Lions were ominous early on with Ivan Bogdanovic, Jon Lawton and a three from Darragh O’Hanlon shooting the Warriors into a 7-0 lead.

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Jack Maguire and James Gormley got the Lions in gear but a jump shot score from Lawton and a three from Fergal O’Sullivan cancelled out their scores.

Rian Caverly, Tiernan Howe and Oisin Rice were working hard to keep the visitors in the game but a hat trick of baskets from Andre Berry either side of threes from Daniel Jokubaitis and O’Sullivan again saw the Warriors lead 24-17 at the end of the first.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

The hosts drove on early in the second and a 12-point scoring salvo had the Lions chasing shadows. O’Hanlon, Lawton, Bogdanovic and Rap Buivydas queued up to score before Muhammad Sabic drove to the basket and added the extra in a bid to quell the storm.

However the Warriors were now in the groove and a three point volley from Lawton, O’Sullivan and two from Jokubaitis saw the home side fire their way into a 51-29 lead at the long break.

The Warriors did not relent in the third and by the midway point of the quarter the lead was out to double scores. Bogdanovic, O’Hanlon, Lawton, Buivydas and Eoin Quigley were all in range as the Lions were limited to just four scores.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

Gormley, Rice and Finn Hughes battled bravely but by three quarter time the Warriors lead was out to 74-37 as Jokubaitis put in another brilliant cameo to hit three scores including a now typical three point effort in the final seconds.

James Gormley and Sabic were on the mark for Lions at the start of the final quarter but again the Warriors were finding their scores whenever they looked for them. Lawton, Buivydas and another good shift from Pa McCarthy off the bench pushed the hosts further ahead.

The Lions then hit 12 points without reply to put some degree of respectability on the scoreline but a late McCarthy flourish after Kieran Donaghy got in on the action saw out the win for the Warriors by 96-54 in the end.

Action from the game. Photo by Liam Ryan

While all the action was taking place in Tralee there was plenty of drama unfolding in the De La Salle Hall in Belfast. Coughlan C&S Neptune led the Warriors rivals for the League title Belfast Star by a single point with 3.2 seconds on the clock.

Miraculously Belfast turned over the final possession of the game and two passes later Conor Quinn hit a showstopping three pointer from just inside the halfway line to snatch an unlikely win to keep the pressure on the Warriors going into the final round of action.

The focus now switches to the weekend as the Warriors head for Neptune Stadium and Belfast Star visit DCU Saints.

A win against Coughlan C&S Neptune will see the Warriors crowned as champions for the second year running. Defeat for the Warriors and a Belfast win could see the sides heading to Tallaght for a one game winner take all playoff.

But before all that an arbitration meeting of Sports Dispute Solutions Ireland meeting in Dublin on Tuesday could go a long way to deciding how the League placings will finish up before a basketball is bounced next weekend.

It is unclear when a decision will emerge from the arbitration meeting but both sides will be keen to get the issue resolved as it has rumbled on with appeal and counter-appeal since the first week in January.

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