After 25 years it’s back to the gym

The St Paul’s Kerry Spring team from 25 years ago that defeated Sligo All-Stars 105-104 in the Pres Gym, Killarney. Back, from left, Brian Clarke, Joey Sheehan, Terry Smith, Greg Ford, Caoimhin O’Donoghue, Cormac O’Donoghue and Joe Coughlan, coach, with, front from left, Gerard Coughlan, Kerry Spring, James Weldon, Pat O’Connor, James Fleming and Pat O’Shea. In front are mascots Patrick O’Connor and Tim O’Donoghue.
Pictures: Eamonn Keogh

Report: Eamonn Keogh

IT’S a real case of back to the future for Killarney’s Scott’s Lakers this Saturday night as the St Paul’s club returns to an old stomping ground in the Presentation Gym.

With Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre unavailable due to the general election count, Lakers will avail of the Pres facilities to entertain Ulster University Elks and it will be a welcome return to one of the most popular venues associated with the history of national league basketball in Killarney.
The Pres Gym opened in 1984 and the Gleneagle Killarney team of the 80s played national league games there from 1984 to 1987. St Paul’s, playing under the Revelles and Kerry Spring banners, staged senior national cup and league games there from 1992 until 2000.

John Teahan in action for St Paul’s Kerry Spring against Dublin Bay Vikings in the Pres Gym, Killarney in October 1998.

With the formation of the Gleneagle Lakers, many national league matches took place at the INEC during the early 2000s while some fixtures also went ahead at the Pres Gym until 2008.
The match this weekend is almost 25 years to the day when supporters witnessed a thrilling encounter that went down as one of the greatest games ever seen in Killarney.

On Saturday 11 February 1995 St Paul’s Killarney enjoyed an incredible 105-104 win over Sligo All-Stars after double overtime. It was 86 points each at the end of normal time and 96 each after one overtime.

Match MVP Terry Smith gave a monumental performance with a huge 36 points while his American colleague Greg Ford also notched 36.

James Fleming in action for St Paul’s Kerry Spring against Mark Keenan, St Vincent’s Dublin in the Pres Gym, Killarney in 1998.

They also had outstanding displays from local players Pat O’Shea, Brian Clarke, Cormac O’Donoghue and James Fleming.
Over 700 supporters filled the Pres Gym that night and the Killarney side trailed by 13 points at one stage before staging a marvellous comeback.

It was a victory that guaranteed promotion to the superleague for St Paul’s who were coached by the charismatic Joe Coughlan and the division one league title was subsequently clinched afterwards.
Killarney basketball supporters are urged to come out in force again this weekend to cheer on the current side in their bid for promotion. Tip off in the Pres Gym is at 7.30pm.

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