Men’s Super League 2023/2024 – Round 10

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 86

Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig@MTU 73

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors unbeaten run continues after an 86-73 win over Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig@MTU in a prequel to the meeting of the sides in the semi-final of the National Cup in three weeks. The Warriors took the opportunity to introduce their exciting new American Caleb Jordan, and despite the absence of sharpshooter Daniel Jokubaitis, produced a dominant performance of real quality to get the better of the team they will play for a place in the Cup final in January.

The Warriors could not have got off to a better start with new recruit Caleb Jordan confidently swatting in two free throws to open his and the Warriors account and when Rap Buivydas followed that up with a powerful hat-trick of scores the home side led 8-2. Ballincollig’s response was limited to back to back scores from Ronan O’Sullivan but when Jordan struck again from either side of the arc and Buivydas and Doles both found the Ballincollig basket the Warriors led 18-7. Shawndale Jones Jnr., former Warrior Nikola Roso and Adrian O’Sullivan cut the gap back to 5 and despite an Andre Nation three, Eoin Quigley from distance and back to back scores from Kieran Donaghy saw the Warriors lead 27-18 at quarter time.

The Warriors piled on the pressure early in the second with a double from Doles and a hat trick from Buivydas, who was relishing the physical battle under the Ballincollig board, combining to push their advantage out to 15. Jones Jnr. replied for the visitors with a quickfire 6 points but when Jordan and Leonard fired down threes and Cian Sullivan hit three in a row the Warriors lead was out to 49-32. Jones Jnr. from the line and Sean McManus with a drive to the board kept the visitors in touch but a floated effort from Doles and two from two from the line for Leonard had the Warriors 53-36 up at half time.

Ballincollig needed a third quarter response and baskets from Nicola Roso and Adrian O’Sullivan gave them the ideal start but Ryan Leonard replied in kind with two scores from inside and one beyond the arc to keep the Warriors lead intact. Sean McManus was in range again twice for the Cork side but Doles and Jordan with a cracking three had the Warriors 20 points up. Scores from Jones Jnr. and Nation and a three from Keelan Cairns pared the lead back to 13 but Buivydas was unerring from the line and the Warriors looked comfortable at 69-54 up turning down the stretch.

Proven three point shooter Keelan Cairns fired down a major score for the visitors to kickstart the comeback but Virgin Media MVP on the night Caleb Jordan replied in kind and when Warriors captain Eoin Quigley took the new recruits lead to arc in back to back threes the gap was back out to 20 points. Ronan O’Sullivan and Roso edged Ballincollig a little closer but Doles and Leonard combined to restore their unassailable advantage. It was one way traffic from there until the final buzzer as the Warriors stepped off the gas and Ballincollig cut the advantage back to 13 with Nation, Jones Jnr., Adrian O’Sullivan, McManus and Diego O’Herlihy all on the mark to bring the margin of defeat down to 86-73 in the end.

Warriors Coach John Dowling says he was very impressed with new recruit and Virgin Media MVP Caleb Jordan and is relishing the challenges that lie ahead.

He says that Ballincollig will learn from last night’s experience and expects the Cup semi final to be a different game but hopefully with a similar outcome.
Virgin Media MVP Caleb Jordan says he appreciates the opportunity he has been given in Tralee and says he will do everything he can to help the team succeed.


Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Caleb Jordan 20, Rap Buivydas 17, Ryan Leonard 14, Jarvis Doles 14

Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig@MTU: Shawndale Jones Jnr. 16, Sean McManus 12, Andre Nation 12

The sides will meet again in the semi-final of the National Cup on January 6th in Neptune Stadium and on the evidence of Saturday night Ballincollig have plenty to ponder. That said, Cup basketball takes on a life of its own and the form book is rarely a reliable guide, but it does promise to be another intriguing clash between the sides as the Cork outfit look to go one step further than they did last season and the Warriors looking to get back to Tallaght to contest a Cup final as they did two seasons ago on the way to their historic double. In the meantime the Warriors will contest the Castleisland Blitz on the 28th and face EnergyWise Ireland Neptune in Tralee on the 30th.

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