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Repeat? Garvey’s Tralee Warriors coach John Dowling looks ahead to the 2022/23 season

-From Basketball Ireland

The 2021/22 season couldn’t have gone any better for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors. They completed the league and cup double.

One of their star players Aaron Calixte scooped player of the season honours for his role in their InsureMyVan.ie Super League win, while head coach John Dowling was named coach of the season at the Basketball Ireland annual awards. 

Can they reach the same heights this year? We caught up with Dowling to put the questions to him. 

  • You received the InsureMyVan.ie Super League Coach of the Year last time out, what do you think it was that went right for you personally and for the group last season?

JD: For me personally I had a lot of support within the Warriors organization. The committee worked so hard to ensure the team had everything we needed from the best gear, venue etc. This helped us to attract Aaron Calixte, who was a very high-level player in the USA. Garvey’s also give us huge support, which again goes a long way to be able to run our team as professionally as we can. I also have huge support from Pat Price and Jimmy Diggins who were able to help me out and give advice right along the way and of course my family at home. Ursula my wife gave birth just a couple of hours after the first league game, so it was a busy year in my house but without her support none of it would have happened.

 

As a group we have some huge internal leaders who are motivated to win and who the coaching staff also rely on hugely during games and practice so the mix of them and the youth coming through from St. Brendan’s and Tralee Magic have a massive part to play.  

  • Does achieving that success give yourself and the players who experienced that run an extra level of confidence going into the new season, that could take this team to even new heights?

JD: We are very much a group that try to look forward and see every year as a new year. For sure the experience of last year’s run will help us, but we know that there are some tremendous teams out there and we, as the champions, have a huge target on our backs. We are aware that in order to be contenders again, we must put in more work than we did last year and it’s really the players that will determine the effort so time will tell. 

  • With a double of the InsureMyVan.ie Super League and National Cup under your belts from last season, how is the mood in the camp ahead of the new season?

The mood is great in Tralee and Kerry with basketball at the moment booming here. In our own camp we enjoyed having both trophies in Tralee and enjoyed the time off, but we are hungry and ready to get back to work. This season with 14 teams it’s going to be hectic, but we are looking forward to it. 

 

  • Aaron Calixte and Nikola Roso were key components to the team’s success last season, how will you look to replace their influence on the side this season?

They were massive for us on and off the court and we were delighted to be a part of their journey and wish them well with their new teams. I think as a coaching staff in the InsureMyVan.ie Super League in Ireland, you have to adapt to the player that you can bring in. We look to recruit the person and who they are as much as their basketball ability. The guys we have recruited this year are different types of players so as a coaching staff and a team we will have to change our style of play, but the common characteristic is they are good men who want to do well in Tralee on and off the court. 

  • There’s a huge emphasis on three-point shooting in modern basketball. Have you noticed this creeping into the Irish game? Is it a skill you see improving domestically year to year?

I am more of a traditionalist. I love the inside game. I think in Ireland more players have to get more reps shooting before you can say we are a good 3-point shooting nation. Don’t get me wrong, we might have lead the league in 3-point shooting attempts last year, but right guy, right place, right time would be my philosophy on that. 

  • There’s a good mix of youth and experience throughout the ranks thanks to the likes of Steven Bowler and Aivaras Uosis, is that something that you’ll look to utilise over the season?

Yes, for sure the feeder clubs Tralee Magic and St. Brendan’s have done a super job at getting these guys ready from a young age. It’s up to us to bring them to the next level. It’s something as a coaching staff we talk about all the time before games. Where can we get these guys meaningful minutes where they can grow? I think last year Steven, James Fernane both started a game and Keelan Crowe went from not playing in the cup final to starting in the league final so we must continue to encourage that type of growth. 

  • On that note, how pleasing was it to see former Tralee Warriors’ players Rapolas Buivydas and Leeroy Odiahi perform well for the Ireland team at the FIBA U20 European Championship in Georgia?

Firstly, can I just say what a tremendous job Paudie and his staff did at the FIBA European Championship. They took care of the ball and competed at that level and finished that high, narrowly missing out on top-16. It has a lot to do with how they set up those guys for success, so well done to them. For us in Tralee Rapolas captained the team and both him and Leeroy played a huge part, so we are extremely proud and we hope to see them back with the Warriors one day. 

  • You’ve had an impeccable home record in the last few seasons. What do you put that down to? What is it about this team and the style of play down here that brings the supporters out in such good numbers?

I think the supporters love to see the local guys who were born and living here, along with the young guys, so they really root for them. The committee does a tremendous job on game night of adding to the experience with lights, halftime stuff etc. Our players also go out to other clubs beyond Tralee and do clinics, camps etc so that draws in more and more people. I think all of that added to a style of basketball that’s about the team and sharing the ball keeps people coming back night after night.

  • What are the main objectives for the team this season? It will be very difficult but are you aiming to repeat the success of last season, or will it take some time for the new elements of the team to gel?

If we are going to repeat it will take a huge effort from everyone. The league is set up again the same as last year, so our aim is to be in the playoffs and you are three games away from the title. The cup is the cup. Anything can happen so well take it game by game leading into round one, continue to get better and see where that takes us.

Warriors double down on Neptune to add Super League crown to National Cup

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Final

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 78

C&S Neptune 72

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors completed an incredible double of national titles by adding the InsureMyVan.ie Super League crown to the InsureMyVan.ie Pat Duffy National Cup with a 78-72 win over C&S Neptune at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Saturday night. For the second time they denied C&S Neptune a major title with a come from behind victory, which at times seemed unlikely, as they trailed the Leesiders throughout the contest only to take the lead for the very first time with just four minutes on the clock.

Unlike the Cup final it was Neptune that seized the early initiative and raced into a lead with captain Roy Downey firing down the opening score from play with a three and Ricaud Gittens doing likewise after Nil Sabata added a double from inside. The Warriors resistance came with a solitary three pointer from Daniel Jokubaitis and when Downey fired down his second score from outside to move Neptune 12 points ahead forcing Coach John Dowling to call an early time-out. The introduction of Kieran Donaghy plugged the gaps in defence and Aaron Calixte, Eoin Quigley and Darragh O’Hanlon combined to cut the gap back to 25-17. Cian Heaphy and Sabata kept Warriors in check with a score each but Calixte and Donaghy with a score and a plus one kept the gap to single figures. A late shootout saw Fergal O’Sullivan and Jokubaitis hit threes at one end and a James Hannigan effort off the backboard for Neptune saw his side lead 28-25 at quarter time.

A low scoring second quarter saw baskets harder to come by with both defences on top in the early minutes but Ron Elksnis opened his account with a nice cut and lay up in response to a similar effort from Sabata. The shooters on both sides then opted to load up from outside the arcs and threes from O’Sullivan and Calixte were negated by major scores from Downey and Gittens before Heaphy moved Neptune 5 points ahead when he also hit the mark from distance. The Warriors then hit one of the scores of the game after Eoin Quigley had spectacularly rejected a drive to the board from Sabata, Calixte kicked the ball out to O’Hanlon in the corner and he made no mistake for a three to cut the gap to a single score. Neptune captain Roy Downey would have the last say in the quarter with a last gasp basket off the glass to keep his side ahead by 42-38 at the long break.

The Neptune dangerman Sabata hooked in the opening score of the third quarter to edge Neptune further ahead but a three from Quigley kept the Warriors right in the contest before O’Hanlon added to leave just a single point between the sides. Gary Walsh hit his first score for Neptune with a three before Washington and Sabata kept the scoreboard ticking over. Roso and Calixte replied by taking full advantage of Neptune indiscretions, but the Warriors were in foul trouble at the other end and Gittens, player coach Colin O’Reilly and Aleix Tarradellas hit six from six from the line to extend the Neptune lead. A late three from Calixte closed the gap to 60-54 at the end of the third quarter.

A quick double from Sabata either side of a basket and a plus one from Calixte moved the Cork side 7 points ahead early in the final quarter and in a game that was so tight it looked to be a decisive advantage. But the Warriors launched what would prove to be a game changing run started by Darragh O’Hanlon with a trademark three followed by a double from Roso and a floated effort from Quigley. The Cup champions took the lead for the very first time in the game when Nikola Roso converted after Sabata had rimmed out in what would prove to be a crucial momentum swing to the Warriors. The Warriors fans were on their feet when Donaghy fired in the toughest shot in the game with a three from the corner and the supporters were in full voice when a floated effort from Calixte pushed them into a 74-70 lead. The All Star point guard repeated the dose a minute later with an uncontested lay-up after a Neptune turnover and with it the realisation that it was not going to be their night. Calixte would finish the game in style by adding two from two to finish with a game high 21 points and secure the Super League title for the Warriors much to the delight of the army of travelling fans who spilled onto the court to celebrate the Cup and League double. It was a fantastic final, full of incident and drama and it was a late charge from Warriors that proved to be the difference between the sides in the end.

Scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 21, Nikola Roso 13, Eoin Quigley 12

C&S Neptune: Nil Sabata 21, Roy Downey 14, Richaud Gittens 12

Warriors take Éanna to task to set up another final showdown with Neptune

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Semi Final

DBS Éanna 57

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 75

In a repeat of the InsureMyHouse.ie Pat Duffy National Cup final, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and C&S Neptune will renew rivalries in the final of the InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght next Saturday night. The sides made it through to the League decider after the semi-final action on Saturday and Sunday that saw the higher seeded teams with home advantage succumbing to their opponents, Neptune easily accounted for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig in an all-Cork affair and the Warriors inflicted more pain on DBS Éanna for the second time at the last four stage of a major competition this season. The Warriors could not have got off to a better start and produced arguably the best opening to a game this campaign. From the moment Eoin Quigley rolled the ball in off the tips of his fingers it set the scene for Warriors to impose themselves on the hosts. They immediately defended like their lives depended on it with Kieran Donaghy in particular dominating under his board and when Keelan Crowe followed Quigley’s suit and Darragh O’Hanlon fired in a trademark three, the Warriors led by 8-2. But by the time O’Hanlon repeated the dose after Aaron Calixte had weaved a path to the basket and Daniel Jokubaitis drilled a shot from beyond the arc, Éanna coach Darren McGovern had to call a timeout to stem the bleeding. A Stefan Zecevic three halted the Warriors run but Fergal O’Sullivan replied in kind to see the visitors out to a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter In a stop-start second quarter Éanna played their way back into the contest after Quigley had taken maximum value from a trip to the free throw line. Alex Dolenko did likewise at the other end of the court and when Daniel Heaney, Romonn Nelson and Zecevic all added the Warriors quarter time lead was all but wiped out. Jokubaitis and Calixte from inside and from the free throw line edged the Tralee side further ahead but Zecevic had the last word in the quarter for Éanna with a floated effort to cut the Warriors advantage to an underage basketball scoreline of 28-22 at half time. Josh Wilson hit a shot-clock buzzer beater to open the scoring in the third and cut the gap to 28-24 but the Warriors response was decisive with three scores from Calixte and another from Jobubaitis firing the Warriors out to a double-digit lead. Both teams found themselves in foul trouble early in the quarter, but half the resultant free throws were missed as the shooters on both sides struggled to convert. Amidst the hit and misses Daniel Jokubaitis got an open look at the Éanna basket and in customary style landed from outside the arc. Zecevic was again the go-to man for Éanna with a quick double, but Ron Elksnis would finish the quarter in style from inside and outside the arc after some excellent rebounding from Donaghy to give the Warriors a potentially game winning lead of 49-35 at three quarter time. Stefan Zecevic, Romonn Nelson and Mark Reynolds combined to pare back the lead early in the final quarter but Éanna Coach Darren McGovern had to call another time out when a three from Brandon Cotton and two from Jokubaitis restored the Warriors advantage to 14. A fifth foul saw Kieran Donaghy depart the scene after putting in a heroic shift, but it simply ignited the fire in the Warriors to go on a sensational scoring spree to put the semi-final well and truly to bed. It was Aaron Calixte who really put on a show of stunning offence in the final minutes landing two from inside and two from outside the arc with Jokubaitis and O’Hanlon, with his third three of the day, adding some gloss to the final score. The drumming and chanting continued long after the final buzzer as the Warriors supporters greeted and embraced their heroes. The focus now quickly switches to the trip to Tallaght again next Saturday night. Scorers: DBS Éanna: Stefan Zecavic 20, Devin Gilmore 20, Romonn Nelson 13Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Daniel Jokubaitis 25, Aaron Calixte 17, Eoin Quigley 11 Next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is another date with destiny when for the second time this season they take on C&S Neptune with the chance to add the League title to the National Cup. It will be an absolutely intriguing battle with Neptune looking to capture a League title for the first time since 2003. Tip off at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday evening is 7.00pm.

Warriors overpower Marian to set up another semi-final date with Éanna

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Quarter Final Play Off

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 88

UCD Marian 71

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors will take on DBS Éanna in the InsureMyVan.ie Mens Super League semi-final this weekend following their 88-71 defeat of UCD Marian at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night. The Warriors always maintained the upper hand in the contest, holding a double-digit lead from early on before going on to clinch their spot in the last four of the League.

The Warriors intentions were clear from the outset and an impressive early scoring run had Marian at sixes and sevens. Eoin Quigley and Daniel Jokubaitis were in range from distance to open the Warriors account and by the time Quigley hit his second three after a double from beyond the arc from Aaron Calixte the Marian Coach Josko Srzic had to call a timeout with the hosts leading 23-9. Marian shooter Jonathan Jean cut the gap with a couple of three pointers but Kieran Donaghy and Keelan Crowe added from inside to see the Warriors lead 27-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Marian point guard Jonathan Jean found a gap to lay up the opening score of the second quarter but a quick double from Brandon Cotton kept the Warriors lead in double digits. Darragh O’Hanlon and Calixte were on the mark to keep the pressure on the visitors, but a number of Warriors defensive fouls allowed UCD to shoot from the line and Srdjan Stojanovic, Jean and Neil Baynes took advantage to keep the college side in the game. The UCD bench were then hit with a technical when questioning a refereeing call and their indiscipline spilled onto the court with Donaghy and Calixte obliging with free throws to round out the first half with the Warriors leading 42-27.

The Warriors looked like cutting loose early in third when Jokubaitis got an open look for a three followed by a floated effort from inside. However, it only served to kickstart something of a UCD revival as Mariusz Markiewicz, Conor Meany and Jean combined to reel in the Warriors lead to 10 points at 52-42. But the Marian run was brought to a halt when threes from Donaghy and Jokubaitis again had the home crowd in full voice. Donaghy and Cotton inflicted more pain on the visitors before their veteran shooter Conor Meany who was impressive throughout fired in a typical three-point effort to leave 16 between the sides at 64-46 at three quarter time.

An eye-catching cameo from Marian substitute Eoin McCann early in the final quarter saw him add 8 points from inside and out but Cotton and Quigley replied to keep the sizable gap intact. However back-to-back effort from Jean had the gap down to 11 at the midway point in the quarter. In the decisive moment of the game Marian’s Dan James was called for a foul on Aaron Calixte and he displeasure with the call was rewarded with a technical and when Conor Meany also voiced his annoyance, he also received a technical call. Aaron Calixte was left to inflict maximum damage hitting four from four from the line to cement the Warriors advantage. A late three-point shootout added some gloss to a contest that never quite took flight. Calixte, Quigley and Fergal O’Sullivan fired in from distance before Meany and Jean responded to keep the score reasonable. It was left to Kieran Donaghy to run in an uncontested lay-up to see out the 88-71 win and set up next week’s winner take all semi-final against keen rivals DBS Éanna in Colaiste Éanna,

Scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 28, Eoin Quigley 14, Kieran Donaghy 11, Daniel Jokubaitis 11

UCD Marian: Jonathan Jean 28, Conor Meany 21, Eoin McCann 8

The dream of a League and Cup double is alive as next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is a trip to Colaiste Éanna and another semi-final date with DBS Éanna, the team the Warriors overcame in the semi-final of the Cup. Another win will see them back in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on the following weekend where either C&S Neptune or Tradehouse Central Ballincollig will be waiting for them.

 POST MATCH AUDIO

Warriors Head Coach John Dowling says shutting down the Marian shooters was key to setting up the win…

He says nothing short of perfection will be good enough next weekend against Éanna…

Captain Fergal O’Sullivan was pleased with the way his side dealt with the threat from Marian…

He says next weekend will be a massive challenge for his team but feels these are the games they wish for…

Warriors take Neptune hit ahead of UCD test

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 16

C&S Neptune 91

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 81

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors will take on UCD Marian in the Super League playoff quarter final in Tralee next weekend following the final round of Conference games over the weekend. Defeat to C&S Neptune on Saturday night mattered little as the final standings in the South Conference were already determined ahead of the game. What wasn’t known was the final order of the first four of the North Conference following the dramatic withdrawal of Belfast Star owing to an ‘inadvertent error’ made by the club in registering their outstanding player this season Max Cooper altered the final standings. The fallout from the Belfast withdrawal is that C&S Neptune are set to face Killester, DBS Éanna will host NUIG Maree and Griffith College Templeogue travel to play Tradehouse Central Ballincollig next weekend.

To the action on the court and C&S Neptune were into their stride straight away racing to a 13-3 lead early on after Nils Sabata opened their account followed by two threes from Alex Tarradellas and one from Richaud Gittens with the Warriors response limited to an effort from outside from Darragh O’Hanlon. The Warriors chipped away at the Neptune lead through Nikola Roso, Keelan Crowe, Daniel Jokubaitis, Fergal O’Sullivan, and Brandon Cotton but Neptune would finish the quarter as they started it with another run of threes from Gittens, Miles Washington and Scott Hannigan to extend their comfortable lead to 29-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Two threes from Roso and Aaron Calixte cut the Neptune gap early in the second quarter, but the hosts looked much more in tune and Cian Heaphy and Washington combined to push the lead out to 12. The impressive Sabata hit two scores before Gittens added his second three to edge Neptune further ahead but baskets from Calixte, Roso and Elksnis kept the Warriors just about in touch. The Tralee side got into foul trouble and Sabata made five trips to the line and fortunately for the Warriors shot just 5 from 10 but his side still led 52-36 at the long break.

The Warriors dug deep in the third to stay in the contest and a hat trick of threes from O’Hanlon, Calixte and Eoin Quigley brought the hosts back within range. But Neptune responded with a major score from Washington followed by another from inside from Sabata and a huge trademark dunk from Heaphy to maintain their double-digit lead. Keelan Crowe found the target from distance to keep the Warriors revival going but the momentum shifted back to Neptune when Gittens fired in a three following the lead of his player coach Colin O’Reilly and was on the mark again with a contested buzzer beater that the officials allowed to stand that left the Cork side with a 72-59 as the sides headed into the final quarter.

The Warriors to their credit embarked an impressive scoring run in the final quarter to keep their hopes of an unlikely win alive. Five consecutive threes from Calixte, O’Hanlon, Fergal O’Sullivan and Jokubaitis with two had the Warriors bench on their feet as they cut the gap to 82-74 with 2 minutes left on the clock. However the Warriors late run was halted when Sabata fired in and then profited from a turnover to lay up uncontested to steady the Neptune ship. It was left to Cian Heaphy to underline the score line with a three for Neptune right on the final buzzer.

Scorers: C&S Neptune: Nils Sabata 26, Richaud Gittens 17, Cian Heaphy 13

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 19, Daniel Jokubaitis 13, Darragh O’Hanlon 9

Next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is the last chance for the Warriors faithful fans to see them in action in Tralee this season when they host UCD Marian in the SuperLeague playoff quarter final at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night with tip off at 7.30pm.

Warriors edge local derby to stay in pole position for home quarter final

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 15

Team 360 Financial Killorglin 65

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 74

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors took another step towards securing a home League quarter final playoff with a 74-65 win over Team 360 Financial Killorglin at the Killorglin Sports Complex on Saturday night. Allied to C&S Neptune’s defeat to Tradehouse Central Ballincollig in Cork, it leaves the Warriors in prime position to host a quarter final playoff on the weekend of the 19th/20th of March

The Warriors stormed into the contest to immediately seize the initiative and build a sizable 15-2 lead by the midway point in the quarter. Scores from Eoin Quigley, Nikola Roso, Daniel Jokubaitis and stunning three from Aaron Calixte powered the Warriors ahead with Killorglin’s token resistance a single score from point guard Allan Thomas. The home side did struggle to get shots to land but managed to eat into the Warriors lead when Simon Francis, Xabier Arriaga and Isa Brandon combined to cut the gap back to single figures but back-to-back baskets from Ron Elksnis saw the Warriors lead 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors offensive effort stepped up a notch in the second and scores from Roso and Calixte edged the visitors further ahead. Killorglin’s defensive indiscipline was also punished with 6 from 8 from free throws and the Warriors advantage was out to 29-13. The game quickly turned into a shootout with both sides firing in threes that had the sizable crowd in full voice. Roso and Calixte both fired in from outside the arc before Arriaga replied by launching two identical quality efforts from either side of the court. Darragh O’Hanlon had the final say in the quarter as he knocked down a buzzer beating three from well beyond the line to give Warriors a 40-25 lead at the long break.

The Warriors continued to hold their local rivals at arm’s length when they increased their lead early in the third after Roso dropped in an effort from close range. Two in a row from Arriaga who was busy throughout and a three from Liam Croke kept Killorglin in the game but O’Hanlon’s second three before a double from distance from Jokubaitis put 21 points between the sides at the midway point. Warriors foul trouble allowed Killorglin to chip away at the lead with Eoghan O’Sullivan and Simon Francis in particular profiting, but a quick double from Quigley and a basket each from Roso and Brandon Cotton saw the visitors bring a 61-45 lead down the stretch.

The vocal home crowd called for a final push early in the fourth quarter and their team duly obliged with Shane O’Connell and Francis cutting the gap to 12. A pull up two from Calixte and another arced effort from Jokubaitis looked to have restored order but Killorglin took off on a run that saw them shoot their way right back into the contest. Arriaga and player coach Declan Wall lifted the home crowd with two big threes and when Allan Thomas returned three from three from the free throw line and followed that up with another fast break score after Francis had batted in a rebound, the hosts had cut the Warriors lead to 66-62 with two minutes on the clock. However, just when a shock result looked likely, former Killorglin star Daniel Jokubaitis delivered two killer scores with identical threes to seal the win and bring the Warriors fans to their feet. Aaron Calixte’s two from two from the line late on added a little shine to the final scoreline of 74-65.

Top scorers:

Team 360 Financial Killorglin: Xavier Arriaga 17, Allan Thomas 10, Simon Francis 10

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 22, Nikola Roso 14 Daniel Jokubaitis 14

Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is the final game of the regulation League season when they face a trip to Neptune Stadium to face C&S Neptune, the side they defeated to claim the Pat Duffy National Cup in Dublin in January on Saturday evening with tip off at 6.30pm. 

Warriors see off Maree to move a step closer to home quarter-final 

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 14

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 93

NUIG Maree 79

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors took a major step towards securing a home League quarter-final playoff following a comprehensive 93-79 win over NUIG Maree at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night. The win avenges the defeat suffered by the Warriors when the sides met in Galway last November.

The Warriors started brightly with Aaron Calitxe and Nikola Roso combining for the Warriors first five scores to lead before scores from Lovre Tvrdic, John Burke and Deondre Jackson levelled the contest midway through the quarter. Tvrdic and Jackson were in range again to edge the Galway side ahead before Eoin Quigley stepped to board and Ron Elksnis fired in his first score to see the sides level at 21-21 at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors stepped up the pace early in the second and two cracking three-point scores from Daniel Jokubaitis and Elksnis who was also in range from inside pushed the host 32-23 ahead. Jeryn Lucas and Stephen Commins replied to keep Maree in touch, but another three from Jokubaitis sparked the Warriors to shoot their way to a double-digit lead with Roso and Elksnis dominating the exchanges under the Maree board. Two scores from Tvrdic and another from Luca Krajlic kept the Maree flame lit but Aaron Calixte brought the huge crowd out of their seats with a showstopping three in the dying seconds to see the Warriors lead 49-39 at the long break.

The impressive Deondre Jackson fired Maree back into the game with scores from either side of the arc but Nikola Roso’s hard work in the paint paid off with three scores in a row and when Aaron Calixte repeated the dose with a hat trick of his own the Warriors were in full control. Maree were struggling to make any impression on the Warriors lead but a quick run of scores from Jackson, Krajlic, and threes from Lucas and Stephen Commins cut the gap to 10. Ron Elksnis continued his best performance of the season to fire in from inside and out before Brandon Cotton pulled up to float in his first score of the game and the Warriors led 76-60 at the end of the third.

The Warriors continued to keep the visitors at arms-length with scores from Jokubaitis, Cotton and Elksnis but Maree’s never-say-die attitude saw them halve the Warriors lead to 10 with Jackson again showing his ability to hit tough shots. However a super score from Calixte coming straight up the lane eased the home side back into a comfortable double-digit lead. Tvrdic and Krajlic offered token resistance for Maree late on, but the outstanding Aaron Calixte capped another top-class display firing in from inside and outside the arc saw the Warriors take a big step towards returning to the Complex for a League quarter final play off in mid-March. The win sees off the Maree challenge for second place on the table, but keen rivals C&S Neptune now remain the only team that can deny the Cup champions a home quarter final. With one final twist in the tale, the Warriors face a trip to play Neptune in the last home and away game in Neptune Stadium on March 12th.

Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Ron Elksnis 24, Aaron Calixte 22, Nikola Roso 15

NUIG Maree: Deondre Jackson 25, Lovre Tvrdic 13, Jeryn Lucas 10

Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is a local derby with Team 360 Financial Killorglin in the Killorglin Sports Complex on Saturday 5th March in the penultimate Southern Conference fixture of the season with tip off at 7.15pm.

Honours Even as Warriors and Ballincollig Take a Win Apiece On Big Weekend of Action

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 13

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 94

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 90

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and Tradehouse Central Ballincollig took a win apiece over the weekend as the sides met twice in 24 hours in their Round 13 and the delayed Round 9 fixtures in the InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League. The Warriors maintained their perfect League home record with a 94-90 win on Saturday, and in doing so brought Tradehouse Central Ballincollig’s 11 game winning streak to an end. The following day the teams reassembled in the Ballincollig Community School with the home side exacting a hard-fought victory to guarantee top spot in the Southern Conference as the League playoffs positions come into sharp focus.

The Warriors got the two-day event off to a winning start in Tralee with both sides contributing to an entertaining and exciting encounter. The teams were level at the end of the opening quarter after Darragh O’Hanlon opened his and the Warriors account with a three. Scores from Aaron Calixte, Nikola Roso, Daniel Jokubaitis and Eoin Quigley were negated by efforts from Andre Nation, Keelan Cairns, Kieran O’Sullivan and Padraig Lucey to see the sides level at 19-19.

The sides were level again at halftime after the Warriors had pushed ahead early in the second with Calixte firing in his first effort from distance. Milorad Sedlarevic replied in kind for Ballincollig to launch a run of scores for the Cork side through the impressive Nation and Adrian O’Sullivan that saw them wrestle back the lead of 43-38. However, the Warriors finished the half on a high with scores from Roso, Brandon Cotton and a crowd pleasing lay up from Kieran Donaghy saw the sides level at 45-45 at the long break.

The Warriors embarked on a run of their own early in the third with Darragh O’Hanlon twice finding the basket from distance and when Calixte followed his example, the home side moved into a decisive 64-51 lead. Ballincollig’s shooting quality was called upon and O’Sullivan, Nation and Sedlarevic duly obliged to cut the gap back to 4 but a late Jokubaitis effort from inside saw the Warriors take a 73-67 lead into the final quarter.

Nikola Roso produced some of his best minutes this season in the final quarter to dominate under the Ballincollig board and help himself to four scores in a row, but the visitors were also finding scores when they needed, and four threes from Sedlarevic, Nation, O’Sullivan and Keelan Cairns turned the game around and saw them lead 84-81 with 4 minutes remaining. However, the Warriors regained their footing and when O’Hanlon fired in his fourth three of the game and Roso was again on the mark they took a commanding 90-84 lead into the final minutes. Roso and Calixte made maximum use of three visits to the line and despite two late threes from Sedlarevic and Nation, the Warriors had done enough to keep their perfect home record intact and in turn bring Ballincollig’s impressive 11-game winning run to an end.

Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Nikola Roso 27, Aaron Calixte 23, Darragh O’Hanlon 16

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: Andre Nation 35, Milorad Sedlarevic 18, Kieran O’Sullivan 12

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 9

Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 79

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 73

Just less than 24 hours after the game in Tralee it was a case of take-two as the sides took to the court again in Ballincollig Community School to fulfil the Round 9 clash originally slated for 3rd January that was postponed due to Covid.

Dylan Corkery got Ballincollig off to a fast start with a lay-up and when Andre Nation and Keelan Cairns hit two major scores the hosts led 8-4. Nikola Roso continued his good form from the previous day with the three scores for the Warriors before Pau Cami Galera pushed Ballincollig 14-10 ahead. Fergal O’Sullivan had the last say in the quarter with a trademark three to cut the Ballincollig lead to 14-13 at quarter time.

Ballincollig had the better of the exchanges in the second quarter with Milorad Sedlarevic, Padraig Lucey and Nation all in range with the Warriors response coming from Eoin Quigley, Aaron Calixte and Daniel Jokubaitis. However, Cairns hit a significant three late on and Nation pulled up for two floated efforts to see the home side’s advantage out to 36-27 at half time

The Warriors got right back into contention in the third with Roso and Quigley hitting early scores before a Calixte three cut the gap to a single score. Sedlarevic hit two huge threes to restore the Ballincollig lead before Lucey batted in a rebound to push the gap out to 5. However, Brandon Cotton planted his feet and fired down a cracking three before a Kieran Donaghy effort levelled the game at 57-57 at three quarter time.

The Warriors drove on in the final quarter and when Cotton, Roso and Calixte combined to ease into a 5-point lead midway through the period. However, Ballincollig were in no mood to cough up another defeat as Kieran O’Sullivan hit a huge three to bridge the gap before Adrian O’Sullivan produced one of his showpiece threes to take back the lead. It proved to be the killer score as Ballincollig saw out the win with Andre Nation and Adrian O’Sullivan copper-fastening the victory with six from six from the free throw line.

Top scorers: Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: Andre Nation 22, Milorad Sedlarevic 11, Pau Cami Galera 9

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Nikola Roso 18, Aaron Calixte 18, Daniel Jokubaitis 13

Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is a clash with NUIG Maree at the Tralee Sports Complex in their last home Southern Conference fixture of the season with tip off at the regular time of 7.30pm.

Cup champions back to winning ways ahead of Ballincollig showdown

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 12

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 90

Moycullen 49

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors made a triumphant return to the Tralee Sport Complex as National Cup champions on Saturday evening in their first game at the venue this year. They proudly displayed the Pat Duffy National Cup to their fans who delighted in seeing the most coveted prize in Men’s basketball up close. The Warriors also took the opportunity to return to winning ways as they comprehensively accounted for Moycullen by 90-49 ahead of back-to-back games against League leaders Tradehouse Central Ballincollig next weekend.

The sides went score for score early on with Aaron Calixte, Nikola Roso and Daniel Jokubiaits opening their accounts and Moycullen replying in kind through James Lyons, Kyle Cunningham and Joe Tummon. A mid-quarter run of scores by the Warriors put a 10-point gap between the sides with three baskets from Jokubaitis and Eoin Quigley from the line pushed the lead out to 20-9. Moycullen’s Ayberk Taylan hit his first score of the game but a quick double from Ron Elksnis saw the hosts lead 25-15 at quarter time.

The Warriors dominated the exchanges in the second with Calixte, Roso and Steven Bowler hitting scores. The Moycullen resistance was a couple of three pointers from Taylan and a score inside from captain Grant Olssen but it was not enough to make any impression on the Warriors lead. James Lyons hit a three for the Galway side late on, but it was the hosts that finished the quarter stronger with a huge three from Jokubaitis and Kieran Donaghy’s first score of the game moving them into a commanding 49-29 lead at half time.

The Warriors continued to find space and time early in the third to shoot their way further ahead with threes from Roso and Calixte added to by a floated effort from inside from James Fernane. Moycullen were finding the Warriors defensive effort difficult to negotiate and they simply could not get shots away and when they did, they were tough and under significant pressure. Tummon, Kelly and Morris were on the mark to keep Moycullen within 20 but Calixte was displaying a rich vein of form and scores from inside and out added to by Elksnis and Fergal O’Sullivan had the Warriors 71-43 up at three quarter time.

Kevin Nugent was in range for Moycullen early in the final quarter but what followed was the Warriors scoring at will from inside, outside and the free throw line from Calixte, Elsknis, Fernane and Keelan Crowe hitting two scores and executing a couple of big defensive blocks. Taylan and Fernane exchanged scores late on and in the end, the conclusion that was inevitable from a long way out, had the final scoreline reading 90-49.

Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 26, Daniel Jokubaitis 14, Niko Roso 10

Moycullen: Ayberk Taylan 17, Kyle Cunningham 7, Grant Olssen 7

Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors are back-to-back dates with Southern Conference pace setters Tradehouse Central Ballincollig next weekend, the sides meet at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday with tip off at 5.00pm before they meet again the following day at the Ballincollig Community Centre with tip off at 3.00pm.

 POST MATCH AUDIO

Warriors Head Coach John Dowling says he was happy to be back at the Complex and taking care of Moycullen ahead of a huge double header of games next weekend.. 

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He says Ballincollig will find it increasingly difficult to remain unbeaten and his sides depth on the bench could be a vital factor in the Warriors favour in the two match showdown next weekend…

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He says the Coach of the Month award is a reflection of the National Cup win but his focus is now clearly on trying to complete the Super League double of titles…

John Dowling 3