Pat Duffy National Cup 2023/2024 – Quarter Final

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 87

Bright St. Vincent’s 84

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors are through to the semi-final of the National Cup after negotiating their way past a dogged and determined Bright St. Vincent’s at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night. Leading by as much as 13 early in the final quarter the Warriors were counting down the seconds to the final buzzer as Saints threatened to derail their Cup hopes with a late run that almost got the Dublin outfit over the line. The Warriors prevailed but only just – to set up a semi-final date with Ballincollig in Neptune Stadium on the first weekend in January. The other semi-final will be an all Cork affair with EnergyWise Ireland Neptune taking on UCC Demons meaning the Southern Conference will provide all four of the semi-finalists.

The Saints started brightly with new signing Will Jenkins on the mark with an early double and Kevin Anyanwu followed his lead to hit two in a row. The Warriors countered with threes from Jarvis Doles and Daniel Jokubaitis to level the contest at 8-8. Rap Buivydas was introduced and stormed into the game with a powerful offensive display that yielded him and the Warriors a quick fire 10 points and quickly built a 18-12 lead. Justin Sylver, Roosevelt Davis and Anyanwu combined to bridge the gap but scores from Eoin Quigley, Johnny Williams and Buivydas gave the Warriors a 23-18 lead at the end of the first.

The Warriors pushed on in the second and with Williams adding an 8 point volley either side of major scores from Quigley and Jokubaitis and despite baskets from Sylver, Jenkins and Anyanwu from either side of the arc, the Warriors led 39-31 mid-way through the quarter. Anyanwu and Jenkins were in range again to cut the gap to 4 with two minutes on the clock but a late run from the hosts saw Williams and Doles fire the Warriors into a commanding 52-38 lead at the half time break.

Whatever Saints Coach Michael Bonaparte’s said at the half time team talk inspired his side to shoot their way right back into the contest and cut the Warriors advantage down to a single score. Anyanwu struck again early on and threes from Jenkins, Sylver and Jordan Nsimba brought the score back to 51-49. Ryan Leonard opened his account to halt the Saints advance and when Doles and Jokubaitis added the gap was back out to 10. However Jenkins kept the Saints very much in the contest with seven points in a row to leave just 5 between the sides at 66-61 heading into the fourth.

Images Courtesy of Liam Ryan

The Warriors fired their way into what appeared to be a game winning lead early in the final quarter and with Jokubaitis knocking down a typical three and followed that with a baseline drive to add from inside before a double from Leonard who had to deputise at point guard for Johnny Williams who pulled up with a hamstring strain saw the Tralee side move 76-63 ahead just three minutes into the quarter. However Saints resurrected their Cup hopes with a dominant display to play their way right back into the game and with Sylver, Jenkins and Davis combining, the lead was whittled down to a single score with three minutes on the clock.

A score apiece for Leonard and Buivydas gave the Warriors some reprieve but when Davis fired in from distance and Jenkins added from the line the gap was down to 84-81 with one minute remaining. A huge block from Eoin Quigley and an important defensive rebound from Kieran Donaghy denied two certain Saints scores and Leonard further eased the Warriors fans nerves as the clock ticked down with two from two from the line. However an absolutely stunning three from Jenkins set up a grandstand finish to the contest. It came right down to Jarvis Doles converting one from two from the line with four seconds on the clock to finally seal the deal with a final scoreline of 87-84.

Warriors Coach John Dowling was happy if a little relieved after securing a Cup semi final spot but says his side needs to close out games when they have a decent lead
He says the next two games at home to Ulster University and Ballincollig will be great tests ahead of the semi final against the Cork outfit
Virgin Media MVP on the night Ryan Leonard says Vincent’s were better than when they played them earlier this season and that his side has work to do ahead of bigger tests to come


Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Rap Buivydas 19, Daniel Jokubaitis 15, Jarvis Doles 15, Johnny Williams 15

Bright St. Vincent’s: Will Jenkins 34, Kevin Anyanwu 20, Justin Sylver 15

Next up for the Warriors is the first of three home games before the turn of the year when they take on Ulster University at the Tralee Sports Complex next Saturday before a dress rehearsal for their Cup semi-final at home the following week to Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig@MTU. The final game of 2024 sees the Warriors face Neptune at home on 29th December before all roads lead to Cork for the National Cup semi-finals the following weekend.

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