BIG league basketball will return to Killarney for the 2017-18 season following an absence of almost a decade, it can be confirmed.
Basketball Ireland confirmed this Monday that a recent application from St Paul’s Basketball Club for a place in the men’s National League Division 1 has been accepted.
The application process involved an interview with club officials in Dublin last Saturday and St Paul’s members, Paul Sheehan, Philip O’Connor and Mark O’Leary, presented an impressive case before the adjudicating panel to guarantee the return of top flight basketball to Killarney
Club chairman Padraig Weldon remarked: “It is fantastic to welcome national league basketball back to Killarney. It is something that we have been striving for in recent years”.
Padraig said there is a great tradition of basketball in Killarney and having a senior team competing at national level gives young players something to aspire to.
“It is a big step for everyone associated with the club and I am appealing to all past and present members and anyone interested to get involved. Even if you have zero knowledge of basketball, there are several areas where volunteers are more than welcome to assist the club with time and expertise,” he said.
Basketball Ireland has yet to confirm the structure of the league for the new season – which tips-off in October – but it is possible that it may be a northern and southern conference style league system. That would mean
that St Paul’s would compete in the southern conference with teams such as Ballincollig, Neptune, Fr Matthews, Killorglin, Limerick, Kilkenny, Portlaoise and others.
The Killarney club plans to acquire the services of an American player will also include at least two European players. The rest of the squad will be made up of local Killarney players while St Paul’s also hope to reach out to other clubs in the East Kerry area where a structured link would allow some of their players to play national league basketball.
There is a proud tradition and great history of national league basketball in Killarney. Paudie O’Connor and the Gleneagle St Vincent’s team brought in the first Americans to Irish basketball in 1979 and enjoyed national league success at the time.
St Vincent’s competed in the national league until 1987 and St Paul’s, founded in 1985, first entered the national league in 1993 and competed at Superleague level until 2008.
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