Men’s Super League 2023/2024 – QF Playoff

Éanna 82

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 81

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors bowed out of the Mens Super League after a last second sucker punch from Éanna knocked them out of the post season playoff at the quarter final stage. Having edged ahead in the dying seconds with two clutch free throws from captain Eoin Quigley, the Warriors needed to defend an inbound play from the hosts with 2.7 seconds on the clock. Kristian Andabaka’s cross court pass was fielded by James Gormley above Warriors Cian Sullivan and he calmly tapped in for the winning basket. It was a roller coaster of a game from start to finish with both sides having their runs and periods of dominance but in the end it is Éanna who go through with a meeting with Maree and for the Warriors it is the end of the road for this campaign.

Éanna were first on the board twice through James Gormley in the frantic early exchanges but an Eoin Quigley three got the Warriors in gear and an inside effort from Rap Buivydas edged the visitors ahead. Kieran Donaghy, Cian Sullivan, Caleb Jordan, Elijah Weaver and Daniel Jokubaitis opened their personal accounts one after the other to see the Warriors lead 17-14 but Matthew McClain and Mark Reynolds struck late in the quarter to see Éanna lead by the minimum 20-19 at quarter time.

The Warriors embarked on a devastating run in the second that threatened to blow the game wide open. From the moment Quigley found the basket again to Jokubaitis’ first three of the night, the Warriors had doubled their quarter time score to lead 38-26 just past the midway point in the quarter. Éanna’s resistance came from their dangerman Josh Wilson from either side of the arc and when Sean Jenkins found the basket for the first time the gap was back to 10. The Warriors pushed on again and Jordan, Donaghy and Jokubaitis combined to widen the gap but a crucial three from Jenkins held the half time score to 46-33 to the Warriors.

Whatever was said in the Éanna dressing room at the long break worked the oracle as the hosts simply blitzed the Tralee side with a relentless run that saw them play their way right back into the contest and turn the deficit around to lead late on. Despite back to back dunks from Sullivan and another tough effort from Buivydas for Warriors early on, four threes in a row for Éanna from Wilson, Andabaka and tow from Jenkins cut the lead back to 8 and when Wilson, Gormley and Desnica combined the advantage was down to a single score. Caleb Jordan stopped the rot for Warriors but Jenkins immediately hit back with his third three of the quarter to level at 55-55. Buivydas and Donaghy and Gormley and Andabaka exchanged scores as the clock ticked down but Wilson would have the final say in the quarter with a major score to see the hosts lead 62-59 at three quarter time.

In a frenetic and at times chaotic final quarter the Warriors fired their way back into the lead when threes from Weaver, Quigley and a cracking effort from Darragh O’Hanlon edged them 70-69 ahead with Wilson, McClain and Jenkins keeping Éanna ticking over at the other end. The sides were level on no fewer than five occasions but Jenkins fifth major of the night and a double from Wilson saw Éanna lead 76-74. Jokubaitis found his range in timely fashion to strike from distance and when Weaver danced his way to the board the Warriors led 79-76. The hosts struck back again as the atmosphere in Colaiste Éanna reached fever pitch with Wilson again the go to man for the hosts and Andabaka converting from the line to see the hosts lead by 80-79 inside the final minute. However Wilson was called out for a block on Quigley as he drove to the Éanna board and the Warriors captain calmly swished the clutch free throws to look like giving Warriors the win.

However there was one final twist in the tail as an Éanna time out allowed them restart with 2.7 seconds on the clock and with the Warriors desperate to lock down all options, Kristian Andabaka found James Gormley with a pin point pass and he nailed the winner on the buzzer to see Éanna through to the semi final meeting with Maree next weekend.


Éanna: Josh Wilson 21, Sean Jenkins 19, Kristian Andabaca 16

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Elijah Weaver 18, Caleb Jordan 17, Daniel Jokubaitis 12

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