Mens U20 National League – Final

Tralee Warriors 96

Éanna 91

The Tralee Warriors U20s made it back-to-back National League titles with a 96-91 win over Éanna in an absorbing and high scoring decider at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght yesterday. An outstanding game high 33 points from Olaf Michalczuk and a solid display of shooting from Joshua Osayanrhion with 24 allied to point guard and captain Eddie Sheehy conducting affairs from the top of the key cemented the young Warriors’ back to back title win. Some excellent defence from Donal O’Sullivan, Eoin Creedon and Osayanrhion held the impressive Éanna attack, particularly late on, to see out the win.

The opening quarter threatened to turn into a personal duel between Warriors Olaf Michalczuk and Éanna’s Neil Coghlan as the respective sharpshooters lit up early on. Dean Kiernan nailed an effort from outide for Éanna to start the bidding but Michalczuk responded by swotting in a hat-trick of threes to build an 11-6 lead for the Tralee side. However Coghlan went one better by landing four majors in row to see the Dublin side lead by 5. Kiernan and captain Cathal O’Sullivan edged Éanna further ahead but late efforts from Eddie Sheehy and Brian O’Leary cut the gap to 22-20 at quarter time.

The second quarter rocked and rolled from one end to the other with the Warriors having the better of the early exchanges. Evan Boyle and O’Leary were in range from distance and when Boyle added again and Sheehy converted after a pinpoint pass from Osayanrhion the Warriors wrestled the lead back and forced an Éanna time out call. Out of the timeout Éanna conjured a four point play from Shanay Shah which left a single point between the teams but Osaynarhion and Sheehy would share the next 11 points for the Warriors while efforts from O’Sullivan, Nathan Comerford and Victor Lovic kept the Warriors in check. However despite a late double from Comerford for Éanna, Osayanrhion and Michalczuk would both fire down from beyond the arc to give the Warriors a deserved lead of 49-42 at half time.

The Warriors took the initiative to push on in the third after O’Sullivan, Shah and Coghlan narrowed the gap but a double from Donal O’Sullivan and two superb threes from Michalczuk gave the Tralee side a double digit lead. Osayanrhion with an identical double and David Lucid with his first of the day pushed the gap to 14 and Éanna again had to call a timeout to regroup. The quick break worked as the Dublin side hit 9 for the next 12 points scored but Evan Boyle restored order for Warriors with a corner three. However Éanna pegged the advantage back to single figures with O’Sullivan and Comerford taking full advantage from the line to cut the gap to 76-67 at three quarter time.

Éanna were on the mark early in the fourth through Lovic and another major from captain O’Sullivan but Michalczuk’s radar was still on point and he landed his seventh three of the contest to keep six between the sides. Another Michalczuk double either side of efforts from Creedon and Osayanrhion has the advantage back out to 12 but Comeford and a quickfire six from the Éanna captain had the lead done to a single score at 87-84. What proved to be the killer score in the contest Michalczuk cracked in his eighth three to spread the game again and when Brian O’Leary and Osayanrhion both converted from the line the gap was back out to 10 with 1’27’’ on the clock. Éanna battled to the final buzzer and even with scores from Lovic, Comerford and Coghlan it wasn’t enough and fittlingly Michalczuk and Osayanrhion landed the final scores of the game to seal the Mens U20 National League title for the second year in a row.


Tralee Warriors: Olaf Michalczuk 33, Joshua Osayanrhion 24, Eddie Sheehy 13

Éanna: Cathal O’Sullivan 30, Neil Coghlan 22, Nathan Comerford 17

Captain Eddie Sheehy gratefully accepted the Mens U20 National trophy for the second year running and Olaf Michalczuk deservedly picked up MVP award.

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