InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 5
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 85
UCC Demons 89
With just a single League win to their name, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors need to regroup and regather after suffering their second defeat at home this season to UCC Demons on Friday night and their fourth loss in total so far. Following a memorable overtime win over KCYMS on the opening night and a game they looked certain to win against Belfast but lost in a dramatic last quarter turnaround, the Warriors have produced nothing like the form they displayed last season when they captured both National titles and maintained an unbeaten record at home.
The Warriors with a 1 and 4 record now sit just above the winless Moycullen who they play next in the League at Kingfisher Arena in Galway. After that it is back to the Tralee Sports Complex for two tough home dates with Emporium Cork Basketball and University of Galway Maree before travelling away for all their fixtures slated for December.
It all looked so promising early on Friday evening for the Warriors when Daniel Jokubaitis, Matija Jokic, Dre Jackson and Steven Bowler combined to shoot the defending champions into a 16-6 lead. However Demons went on a quick run themselves with captain Carlton Cuff, Tala Fam Thiam, Stefan Manojovic and Kingsley Nwagboso firing the visitors right back into the game and at the end of the opening quarter the Warriors led 21-19.
Demons began the second quarter with real purpose and intent and fired their way into the lead with David Lehane in range from either side of the arc, Jeremiah Moore putting his name on the scoresheet and playmaker Kyle Hosford, who was allowed to dictate affairs from the top of the arc, adding a hat trick of scores. The Warriors response was a hat trick of their own from Jokic but midway through the quarter the hosts trailed by 37-28. Dre Jackson simply lit up the Complex up with four cracking three pointers and with Eoin Quigley also stepping to board for a couple of scores the Warriors not only reined Demons in, they edged ahead. However Demons restored order with a score each from Nwagboso, Moore and Thiam to see the sides go to the long break deadlocked at 50 points apiece.
Matija Jokic was causing all sorts of problems for the Demons defence early in the third and four scores from him either side of another from Quigley kept the Warriors score ticking over. Demons replied in kind with Lehane and scores from inside and outside from both Hosford and Moore saw the sides level again at 63-63. A baseline drive to the board by Quigley was to be the Warriors last score of the half as Demons made a decisive move with Thiam, Hosford and the industrious Jack O’Leary shooting their side into a 72-66 lead at the end of the third.
Demons pushed for home early in the final quarter and a barrage of scores from Thiam, Manojovic and Nwagboso fired the visitors into a commanding 83-70 lead. The Warriors resistance again came largely from Jokic but when Fergal O’Sullivan hit a typical three pointer and Quigley followed his lead, the gap was down to 84-76. It got better for Warriors when Jokic was on the mark again and a couple of free throws from Jokubaitis cut the Demons advantage to just 4. However that was as good as it got for the hosts as some late indiscipline again cost the Warriors dearly, losing Jokubaitis and Jackson after they both reached their quota of fouls in quick succession. Jokic and Andrée Michelson battled defiantly to the end but Tala Fam Thiam inflicted the final blows for Demons with two free throws to seal the 89-85 win.
Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Matija Jokic 30, Dre Jackson 24, Eoin Quigley 13
UCC Demons: Jeremiah Moore 23, Kyle Hosford 18, Tala Fam Thiam 13
Attention turns to the InsureMyHouse.ie Pat Duffy National Cup next weekend as the Warriors begin their defence of the title they captured for the first time last season. They face a testing trip to Rathfarnham to take on DBS Éanna, the team they overcame in the semi-final to reach the decider in January. Tip off next Saturday evening at Colaiste Éanna is 5.00pm.
Warriors Coach John Dowling was almost lost for words after the game but one word he used more than most was ‘frustration’…
He says indiscipline again hurt them and the big players simply have to stay in the game to the very end…
Demons Coach Daniel O’Mahony says that the Warriors players being fouled out proved decisive…
He says he is hopeful that his side can prevail in a huge local derby Cup tie next weekend against Neptune with the winners at home to either Warriors or Éanna in the next round…