Tralee Warriors 94 Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 90
TRADEHOUSE Central Ballincollig went down to the National cup champions Tralee Warriors in a thrilling Men’s Super League clash at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday.
Sadly for Ballincollig, this was the first game they have lost this season but head coach Kieran O’Sullivan wasn’t overly disappointed with the result and teams meet again on Sunday afternoon in Ballincollig Community School.
“It was a tough game and one that we were in right to the death but Tralee finished that bit stronger and we cannot have too many complaints as the lads gave their all.”
The capacity attendance were treated to a compelling game from tip-off as both teams went for the jugular. The Cork side were not overawed against the cup champions and with American Andre Nation looking energetic in the opening exchanges the sides were level in the fifth minute.
The Tralee post player Niko Rosa posed the Ballincollig defence problems but two late Nation free throws saw the teams go in level: 19-19.
The trend of the game didn’t change on the restart with the Tralee American Aaron Calixte and Rosa continuing to hit crucial baskets.
Ciaran O’Sullivan and Nation led the Ballincollig challenge as the sides were still level midway through this period.
Padraig Lucey got a neat basket before Kieran Donaghy tied the game on a buzzer-beating fast-break: 45-45.
The Warriors backed by their loyal fans raised the bar in the third quarter and they had a superb display of shooting from Darragh O’Hanlon in this period.
O’Hanlon won a league and cup titles with UCC Demons when attending college in Cork and has shown great maturity since joining his hometown club.
In the closing possessions, the Warriors captain Fergal O’Sullivan nailed a three-pointer and with Daniel Jokubaitis finishing with a jumper it helped them take a six-point lead into the final quarter, 73-67.
When the Warriors needed inspiration they got it from Rosa who went to work at a time his team needed baskets coming down the stretch.
Credit to Ballincollig they battled to the final buzzer but the Warriors' third-quarter scoring spree separated two evenly matched sides.