'We wanted something the whole town could get behind': Kieran Donaghy's Tralee Warriors crowned basketball champions

The Kerry ace led the charge as Tralee won the 2019 Basketball Ireland Men’s Super League.

Donaghy and his 3-year-old daughter Lola Rose celebrate together.
Donaghy and his 3-year-old daughter Lola Rose celebrate together.
Image: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE

IT WAS A night to savour for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors on Sunday, as the Kerry club were crowned Basketball Ireland Super League champions for 2019.

A rollercoaster ride throughout this season saw dreams come to fruition, with the Warriors seeing off defending champions UCD Marian 88-73 in front of a home crowd at the Tralee Sports Complex.

The Kerry men came through one of the toughest finishing runs to a season ever, meeting Templeogue a fortnight ago at home, going on to a double header weekend against Neptune and Moycullen, before finishing with an incredible double-header weekend against UCD Marian.

Former Kerry inter-county star Kieran Donaghy led his side’s charge, with the 36-year-old admitting that yesterday’s initial 84-89 overtime win was pivotal in the Warrior’s crowning moment on Sunday.

Garvey's Warriors Tralee v UCD Marian - Basketball Ireland Men's Superleague Tralee defeated 2018 champions UCD Marian this weekend. Source: Diarmuid Greene/SPORTSFILE

“Last night was the winning of it really,” Donaghy reflected afterwards.

“We finished with five Tralee lads on the floor last night with other lads in foul trouble and that win, that overtime win, was the winning of it. We knew we had the sixth man in the crowd down here tonight.

“This is what we wanted when we started this. We wanted something the whole town could get behind and it’s been a long road, a tough journey of ups and downs, but we got here.”

Tralee’s head coach Pat Price said that dreams had become reality for the Warrior’s with their dramatic victory on Sunday night in front of their own supporters in Tralee.

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“If you don’t dream it won’t happen and we have been dreaming about this moment all season,” he said.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident. I’m delighted for them they’ve earned it and that’s how it should happen – you should earn it.

“UCD were defending champions and they weren’t going to roll over, but I’m just so happy and proud of the lads.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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