Mens National League – Round 2
Tralee Warriors 91
Blue Demons 87
Just 24 hours after their Senior counterparts had negotiated their way past UCC Demons in the Super League at the Mardyke, Tralee Warriors repeated the dose at U20 level by overcoming Blue Demons by 91-87 at the Tralee Sports Complex. The win makes it two from two for the young Warriors and keeps their National League title defence on track ahead of the visit of Limerick Lions to Tralee next month.
The Warriors started brightly with Josh Osayanrhion firing in a hat trick of statement dunks early on and when Eoin Creedon added to open his account the hosts led 10-4. Demons response was immediate and Thomas Egan, James Tobin and Ben Horgan combined to level the contest at 10-10. The sides went score for score with Brian O’Leary effort from distance negated by a major score from Donnacha Barry but Creedon was again on the mark for Warriors and Gary Lynch and Olaf Michalczuk soon followed his lead with scores of their own. Demons levelled again through Egan, Barry and Jake Orji before O’Leary’s second major score saw the Warriors lead 25-22 at the end of the first.
The home side laid down a marker in the second and found the Demons baskets with a run of scores to lead by 15 at the midway through the quarter. Another impressive volley of 10 points from Osayanrhion was added to by Creedon and threes from Michalczuk and Evan Boyle had the Warriors 43-28 up. Demons resistance to that point came in the form of scores from Horgan, Orji and Tobin but the Leesiders summoned a run of their own and the impressive Orji hit the next four scores to cut the gap to single figures. The hosts would however maintain control of the contest with threes from Boyle and O’Leary giving the League champions a double digit lead at 53-41 at half time.
Olaf Michalczuk edged the Warriors further ahead early in the third with a major score but when Tobin replied in kind it sparked a revival from Demons that saw Ben Horgan hit four scores and Cian O’Sullivan and Orji also in range to pare the Warriors lead back to 62-55. A Michalczuk lay-up and Gary Lynch’s first three of the night kept the hosts score ticking over but a quick fire 5 points from Horgan left just 5 between the sides at 67-62 at three quarter time.
Evan Boyle’s third three on the night gave the Warriors the ideal start to the fourth but Demons had other ideas and a quick run saw Jake Orji and Thomas Egan combine to give the Cork side the lead for the first time on the night at 71-70. The Warriors replied with Boyle in range again from outside and when Eddie Sheehy slalomed his way to the basket the lead was back out to 6. Demons continued to keep the home side in their line of sight with Tobin, Orji and Horgan cutting that gap back to a single score. With the game in the balance, it was the Warriors that made the decisive move, with Donal O’Sullivan impressively landing the next four scores in a row. Demons battled right to the final buzzer with James Tobin in particular finding the basket to keep the home side honest. However scores from Eoin Creedon and Donal O’Sullivan with his fifth of the quarter saw out the win for the Warriors by 91-87 in the end.
Tralee Warriors: Joshua Osayanrhion 21, Olaf Michalczuk 15, Evan Boyle 12
Blue Demons: Jake Orji 26, Ben Horgan 24, James Tobin 23
Next up for the Warriors is a home date against Limerick Lions in Round 3 at the Tralee Sports Complex on Sunday 17th December.